Third molars – better known as wisdom teeth – are the last to appear, and the most likely to cause problems. In many cases, there simply isn’t enough room for these late-developing teeth. When that happens, extraction at our Milton ON dental practice is the best option to protect your oral health.
Why wisdom teeth are problematic
Secondary teeth are commonly called “adult” teeth, though that is a bit of a misnomer. They usually begin erupting when a child is in kindergarten or first grade, and finish developing well before he or she reaches high school. Similarly, the bone and muscle structure of the face develop during this time. Then, in the late teens or the twenties, the third molars begin to erupt.
Occasionally, there is sufficient room for this last set of teeth, but often there is not. The wisdom tooth might grow at an unnatural angle, inhibit jaw movement, or crowd adjacent teeth. Sometimes all or part of the tooth develops below the gumline. This condition, known as impaction, can disrupt or injure nerves, muscles, bone tissue, tooth roots, and other tissues.
Some of the most common complications associated with wisdom teeth include:
- Fracturing or other tooth damage
- Cysts around the tooth root
- Increased risk of decay or gingivitis
- Sinus problems
- Gum inflammation
- Deep infection
What to expect – the wisdom tooth extraction procedure
Simple tooth extraction is known as pulling a tooth, because it can usually be removed in one piece with minimal force using the right techniques. For impacted teeth, those that have broken off below the gum line, and other complicated cases, this method does not work. Instead, surgical extraction is needed.
The area is completely numbed prior to treatment, so you remain comfortable. Your dentist will create small incisions in the gum tissue as needed to access the tooth. Once it is removed, sutures may be used close the surgical wound.
Do your wisdom teeth require extraction?
There is a common myth that wisdom teeth don’t need to be removed unless they are causing pain. However, that is not entirely true. Extraction is not always required, but pain is not the only sign of trouble. In fact, many serious oral health problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis, infection, and other problems may be painless, especially in the early stages.
The only way to accurately evaluate a wisdom tooth is with a dental examination. This includes diagnostics such as digital radiology and intra-oral imaging.
- If the tooth is impacted or has caused tissue damage, it should be removed as soon as possible to avoid further harm.
- In some cases, preventive extraction is recommended, because it is apparent that the tooth will become impacted.
- If the tooth is not removed, your dentist will closely monitor its development, in case extraction is needed at a later date.