In modern humans, the third molars – also known as the wisdom teeth – are prone to becoming impacted. There’s typically not enough room in the jaw for these large teeth to erupt properly into the smile.
Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth can be quite problematic, causing many issues for patients. To prevent such issues, many patients opt to pursue wisdom teeth extraction with an oral surgeon before these teeth even become symptomatic.
Issues That Can Be Caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can create a variety of problems for patients. Some are potentially quite serious, while others affect quality of life. Concerns associated with impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Discomfort: Impacted wisdom teeth may cause pain for patients.
- Misaligned teeth: Because they will continue to attempt to erupt, impacted wisdom teeth may push the other teeth out of alignment, undoing years of orthodontic treatment.
- Abscesses: The wisdom teeth are at the back of the jaw, making it challenging to keep the teeth sufficiently clean. As a result, infections and abscesses can develop in the vicinity of impacted wisdom teeth.
- Increased susceptibility to oral diseases: In addition to causing infection, the oral bacteria that collect around impacted wisdom teeth may also promote tooth decay or gum disease.
- Cysts/Tumors: Cysts and tumors may develop around impacted wisdom teeth.
This is only a sampling of the issues associated with wisdom teeth. A number of other problems can develop.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Preventing Oral Health Problems
While the issues described above are quite likely to occur when a patient has impacted wisdom teeth, it’s virtually impossible to predict when they will occur. Therefore, many patients will choose to have an oral surgeon remove their wisdom teeth as a preventive measure.
If you decide to go this route, it’s recommended that you plan to have your wisdom teeth extraction before you turn 25 years old. As you move into your late twenties, it’s more challenging for the oral surgeon to remove the wisdom teeth, and the procedure has a longer recovery period.
We encourage patients who are considering a preventive wisdom teeth extraction to schedule a consultation with our team at Jackson Oral Surgery to help determine whether this treatment is the right choice for them.