Although wisdom teeth removal is a commonly performed dental surgery, you may still have some questions or concerns about it. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding wisdom teeth.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop in the mouth – usually appearing behind the upper and lower second molars. They’re called “wisdom teeth” because they typically erupt during a person’s late teens or early twenties, which has historically been called the “age of wisdom.”
Why Do People Get Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Generally, the human jaw is not large enough to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. Therefore, wisdom teeth can cause more problems than the other teeth in the mouth. For nine out of ten people, at least one wisdom tooth remains underneath the gum due to lack of space in the mouth.
Must Wisdom Teeth Always be Removed?
No. In fact, wisdom teeth can be an asset to the mouth when they’re healthy and properly positioned!
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
When a wisdom tooth remains underneath the gum or is blocked from coming into the mouth normally, it becomes impacted. It may be partially impacted, meaning it grows in crooked and partially breaks through the gum. It may also fail to break through at all, remaining totally impacted.
What Problems Can Develop from Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Complications can develop from partially impacted teeth, such as pain, infection, crowding, or damage to adjacent teeth. More severe problems can occur for totally impacted teeth if the sac surrounding the impacted tooth fills with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst.
This enlargement can hollow out the jaw and permanently damage the adjacent teeth, jawbone, and nerves. If the cyst is not treated, a tumor may develop from its walls, and a more involved surgical procedure may be required for removal.
Will I Always Experience Symptoms if I Have a Problem with My Wisdom Teeth?
No. Many problems with wisdom teeth can occur with few or no symptoms. Consequently, there can be damage without you knowing. It’s essential to understand that as wisdom teeth develop, their roots become longer, and the jawbone becomes denser.
Why is it a Good Idea to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed Early?
Because of the problems previously mentioned, it becomes more difficult to remove wisdom teeth as a person gets older. Complications can become more frequent and severe. As a person ages, there’s an increased chance of the above symptoms occurring.
For these reasons, the surgeon may recommend wisdom teeth removal even if they aren’t causing obvious problems yet.