Wisdom Teeth Removal
The wisdom teeth are the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth, on top and bottom. A wisdom tooth removal is a surgical procedure to remove one or more of these teeth.
In the case that your wisdom tooth does not have enough space to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), resulting in pain, infection or other dental problems, you’ll likely need to have it extracted . A wisdom tooth extraction can be performed by either a dentist or an oral surgeon.
Some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even in cases where impacted teeth are not currently causing problems.
Wisdom teeth impacted
In the mouth, wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last permanent teeth to appear (erupt). Most people develop wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 25. In some people wisdom teeth are absent. Some people’s wisdom teeth come in normally – just as their other molars did – and cause no problems.
People frequently develop impacted wisdom teeth – teeth that do not have enough space to erupt into the mouth or grow normally. Some wisdom teeth may only partly erupt or not at all if they are impacted.
The following factors should be considered when deciding whether to remove a wisdom tooth:
Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary if the tooth is partially or fully erupted, has a deep cavity, has an abscess or cyst, is fractured or broken, causes pain or infection in the jawbone and/or gum tissue, affects nearby teeth or bone structure, is non-restorable (cannot be saved), cannot be removed with other dental procedures such as root canal therapy and crowns & bridge.
How to prevent further dental problems
There’s a higher risk of developing decay or gum disease around impacted wisdom teeth. Extraction of these teeth can prevent these problems from occurring. Impacted wisdom teeth can grow sideways into the jawbone, causing a painful condition called pericoronitis. Extraction can prevent this problem from occurring. Impacted wisdom teeth may not be visible on x-rays, but they’re often still there and growing. Extracting them at the right time will prevent future problems from occurring later in life.
Most wisdom tooth extractions do not result in complications. However, sometimes impacted wisdom teeth need to be removed, and this can require a surgical approach that involves making an incision in the gum tissue and removing bone.
Rarely, complications can include:
Painful dry socket from the post-surgical blood clot being lost from the site of the wound (socket), Infection in the socket from bacteria or trapped food particle, Damage to nearby teeth, nerves, jawbone, or sinuses.
In general, you should not need a follow-up appointment after wisdom teeth removal. If you do not have any complications during the procedure such as needing stitches removed, developing complications like pain, swelling, numbness, or bleeding which might indicate an infection, nerve damage, or other problems, and if you don’t experience persistent problems such as these then you should be fine.