FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – WISDOM TEETH
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, do not always erupt properly when they decide to make an appearance. It is wise to get an early opinion from your dentist on getting wisdom teeth pulled before they become impacted, causing pain, swelling, infection, cavities or gum disease.
Why don’t wisdom teeth grow in right?
The shape of the modern human mouth is often too small to accommodate wisdom teeth which make their first appearance in young adults between the ages of 15 to 25. Over the course of time in the evolutionary process, humans learned to harness fire for cooking foods and developed blade tools to better process food before consumption, they reduced the need for strong jaws to chew food.
What does impacted mean?
When wisdom teeth do not have room to grow or they have not reached their final position by age 25, they are considered impacted. Third molar impaction is the most prevalent medical developmental disorder.
What are the problems caused by impacted third molars?
Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection, and cysts and tumours may grow on a trapped wisdom tooth. Jaw pain and gum disease may occur. Not all wisdom teeth cause problems, however.
Isn’t antibiotic therapy enough to suppress the infection?
Antibiotics only soothe infected wisdom teeth for a short time. Since people frequently use a wide variety of antibiotics, the infection may be resistant to such medication and does not solve the real problem: The tooth cannot fit in your mouth.
When is removal necessary?
It is not wise to wait until wisdom teeth bother you. Early removal, as advised by your dentist, is generally recommended to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar. People younger than 16 heal easier too. At an early age, people should be evaluated by their dentist who can track third molar development with the help of X-rays. Second molars should be visible to lessen the chance of damaging them during surgery. This occurs at age 11 or 12, so wisdom teeth should be removed when the decision has been made that they cannot erupt into an acceptable position.
What if there are no symptoms?
People with symptoms of impaction, such as pain, swelling and infection should have their wisdom teeth removed immediately. However, those with no symptoms can avoid the chance of ever suffering from the pain of impacted wisdom teeth or achieve better orthodontic treatment results by having them removed. Asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth also should be removed to reduce the chance of unexplained pain, accommodate prosthetic appliances, or avoid cavities, periodontal disease, bone shrinkage and tumour development.
How is the tooth removed?
Surgery for impacted wisdom teeth consists of removing of the gum tissue over the tooth, gently stripping connective tissue away from the tooth and bone, removing the tooth and sewing the gum back up.