Wisdom teeth extraction is by far one of the most dreaded dental procedures. Unfortunately, only a few lucky patients can avoid this minor oral surgery. Wisdom teeth cause problems more often than not, and in this blog, we will explain what makes these teeth so particular and why it is essential to have them removed on time.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth of the dental arch. Most patients have four of them, and they usually come out at the age of 18. However, the eruption of wisdom teeth tends to be complicated. Many patients don’t have enough space in their dental arches for these molars to come out, so they end up erupting in the wrong position (sometimes only partially), or they don’t come out at all (they are impacted, which means that they are trapped inside the jawbone).
Why Do I Need to Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
The abnormal eruption of wisdom teeth can cause multiple dental problems, and that’s why we recommend patients have them removed before they cause pain or have a detrimental effect on oral health. Ideally, the extraction of wisdom teeth should be planned before they have repercussions on patients’ smiles to avoid the most common problems associated with these molars:
- Infection: When wisdom teeth erupt only partially, they are usually covered by a gum flap. This flap acts as a trap for bacteria and debris, and, as this area is particularly hard to reach with the toothbrush, this dental plaque trap triggers a painful infection known as “pericoronitis.” Pericoronitis is the leading cause of the feared third molar pain, and those who have suffered from it can tell how fortunate it’d be to prevent it.
- Damage to adjacent teeth: Sometimes, due to the lack of space, wisdom teeth erupt horizontally, with the crown aiming towards the adjacent teeth. When these molars try to come out, they only apply pressure to the second molars, which can damage their structure.
- Crooked teeth: Another consequence of this pressure applied by wisdom teeth trying to come out is the misalignment of front teeth.
- Cysts: When inside the jawbone, wisdom teeth are surrounded by a sac. If these teeth can’t come out and aren’t extracted on time, this sac can be filled with fluid and form a cyst. Jaw cysts can be painful and affect adjacent structures like second molars, bone tissue, and nearby nerves. These cysts can also be removed, but they require a much more complex surgical procedure in which the oral surgeon might need to eliminate some bone tissue and even adjacent teeth.
Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed by Expert Hands
At Hill Country Oral Surgery, our skillful oral surgeons perform gentle and minimally invasive wisdom teeth extractions. If you are over 18 and haven’t had your molars removed yet, contact our office and schedule a consult with one of our dentists. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine!