When the wisdom teeth do not have adequate room to fully erupt, the gums can experience chronic pain. Gum tissue that partially covers the exposed tooth can create a trap for extra food and bacteria to gather and proliferate. The painful condition that results is called pericoronitis and can only be definitively treated through extraction of the wisdom teeth affected.
We are also concerned that misaligned wisdom teeth can lead to problems with nearby teeth. If the tooth erupts horizontally into the tooth in front, the resulting gum pocket produced can become a bacteria trap and decay may start on the tooth or even the root. In some extreme cases, the adjacent tooth may be non-restorable and may need to be removed as well. And there was previously a thought that a sideways wisdom tooth could also cause crowding amongst the surrounding teeth. However, more recent studies have found that the presence of wisdom teeth do not push the other teeth together.
If wisdom teeth remain impacted in the jaw bone, you risk developing a cyst in the bone surrounding the tooth. Cysts can destroy bone, tooth roots, and even cause issues with nearby nerves. The larger the cyst becomes, the more invasive the surgery will be to remove the problem area.
So when is the best age to get wisdom teeth removed? We believe the earlier they are extracted, the better. At a younger age, the jaw bone isn’t as dense around the teeth and the roots of the wisdom teeth are not fully formed. This decreases the odds of complications and makes the healing process a little easier. In nearly all cases, we recommend seeing an oral surgeon for the extractions because of their expertise with wisdom teeth extractions and their familiarity with conscious sedation. These factors help make the experience as comfortable as possible.
Like anything else, extenuating circumstances exist where there may be some different recommendations regarding how to treat the wisdom teeth. By consulting with the dentist, oral surgeon, and even the orthodontist, we can help find the best treatment for you or your children’s teeth.
For more information, please visit us at www.brownandkupper.com.
Lee T. Brown, DDS