Pain, tooth crowding, damage to the jaw bone and jaw nerves, and even the growth of tumors can often be prevented by early removal of wisdom teeth that aren’t likely to grow in properly, according to extensive clinical research undertaken by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) Third Molar Task Force.
As a result, the AAOMS recommends that extraction be considered for wisdom teeth – or third molars as they are technically known – as soon as it’s clear there won’t be enough room in the jaw for them to come in naturally. The two most common wisdom tooth complications are impaction and partial eruption. Both can be painful and are potentially dangerous.
Wisdom teeth are known as the “third molars.” They develop behind the initial two sets of molars that everyone possesses, and tend to emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 years old. Since this is also considered the age of adulthood and maturity, they were given the name “wisdom tooth.”
When they first emerge, it’s possible that there is little to no room for them to erupt. This causes pain and possible damage to neighboring teeth, putting your oral health at risk. In these cases, it’s recommended that you have the tooth removed, so you can prevent further damage to your smile.
An impacted tooth remains completely submerged below the gum line, often surrounded by bone. The tissue sac surrounding an impacted tooth can swell, forming a cyst that can hollow out the jawbone, sometimes severely weakening it. Impacted teeth can also become infected or develop tumors that require complex surgery to remove. A partially erupted third molar is one that comes in only part way. It is often crooked and crowds the second molar. That makes it difficult to clean either tooth, exposing them both to premature decay.
Other third molar complications include nerve problems and interference with the roots of surrounding teeth as an abnormally placed tooth’s roots continue to grow. Removing impacted teeth in these situations is much more complicated than extracting them before they cause problems.
In addition, as people age their bones get harder, which also makes it harder to extract a tooth from an older adult than from a teenager or young adult. While the proportion of the population whose jaws won’t support normal wisdom tooth development varies from group to group, extraction is most often performed on teenagers and young adults.
Don’t let wisdom teeth cause you pain or put your oral health at risk! Contact us to make an appointment with Dr. Stearns. As an experienced dentist in wisdom tooth removal, Dr. Stearns can assess your oral health and the best course of treatment for wisdom tooth removal. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you’re worried about an impacted wisdom tooth in yourself or your child.