Why do wisdom teeth become impacted?
The wisdom teeth, which are also known as the third molars, are the largest teeth in your mouth. As humans have evolved, our jaws have gotten smaller, meaning that there is less room for those large wisdom teeth.
Therefore, the wisdom teeth fail to erupt properly, or become impacted, in many patients. This phenomenon can be problematic in a number of ways.
How do impacted wisdom teeth contribute to gum disease?
It is nearly impossible to keep the area at the back of the jaw clean and free of bacteria when the wisdom teeth are impacted. Therefore, patients with impacted wisdom teeth face an increased risk of gum disease.
A greater likelihood of gum disease is only one potential problem caused by impacted wisdom teeth. Others include:
- Infections and abscesses
- Cysts and tumors
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Pushing surrounding teeth out of alignment
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to accurately predict if and when such issues will develop with impacted wisdom teeth. Therefore, many patients opt for a preventive wisdom teeth extraction to avoid these consequences entirely.
It is ideal to extract the wisdom teeth in patients who are 25 years old or younger, as the procedure is more predictable and the recovery process easier in younger patients.
What should I expect from wisdom tooth extraction?
Patients typically work with an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth extracted. Impacted teeth must be removed surgically because the bone that obstructs them must be removed before the teeth can be extracted.
Because wisdom teeth extraction is a surgical procedure, most patients will choose some form of sedation in addition to a local anesthetic for maximum comfort. You should discuss your options with your surgeon and prepare adequately for the appointment by following all pre-operative instructions.
After your wisdom teeth extraction, you will want to do everything possible to avoid post-operative complications. It’s important to adhere to your surgeon’s instructions for self-care after your extractions in order to minimize this risk.
To determine whether you may benefit from wisdom tooth extraction, call Jackson Oral Surgery to schedule an evaluation.