Evolution has rendered wisdom teeth useless, and a high percentage of these unnecessary molars eventually require removal. When a wisdom tooth, otherwise known as a third molar, cannot erupt into proper alignment, it is called impacted. Oral surgery to extract impacted wisdom teeth may be considered if you have the following problems:
- Mouth pain and bite problems caused by damage to surrounding teeth created from crowding caused by the extra molars.
- Jaw and nerve damage caused by cysts that form around the impacted wisdom teeth.
- Sinus pain, pressure and congestion resulting from problems with wisdom teeth.
- Inflamed and infected gum tissue created because the area around impacted wisdom teeth is difficult to clean properly.
- Cavities which develop due to infected gums that allow pockets to form between gums, allowing bacteria to grow.
- Alignment issues that alter the effects of braces, bridges, crowns and partial dentures due the crowding created by impacted wisdom teeth.
To diagnose impacted wisdom teeth, your dental professional will look for signs of infection or swollen gums. Your dentist will also inquire about your regular oral hygiene habits. The diagnosis of impacted wisdom teeth can be confirmed with dental x-rays, which may also reveal damage to the other teeth or jawbone.
When making a decision with your dentist about wisdom tooth extraction, it’s important to consider your age. Typically third molars erupt between the ages of 16 and 25 years. Younger patients experience considerably fewer complications with oral surgery for wisdom tooth extraction than older adults.
If your dental professional recommends removal due to the diagnosis of an impacted wisdom tooth, ask for a referral to a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure a successful and complication-free oral surgery.
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