A wisdom tooth is often extracted to correct an existing dental problem or to prevent the possibility of problems that may arise in the future. Some problems associated with wisdom teeth are:
- Your jaw may be too small to accommodate the eruption of your wisdom teeth, leading them to become impacted (stuck in the jaw, often under the edge of an adjacent tooth) and unable to erupt through your gums.
- Your wisdom teeth may partially erupt, leaving a flap of soft gum tissue to grow over the tooth. Food, bacteria and germs can get trapped underneath this gum flap, leading to swelling, redness and pain, which are signs of infection.
- Impacted teeth can lead to a more serious problem, such as acute infection, damage to the surrounding teeth, damage to the bone or the development of a cyst.
- Wisdom teeth can present at an awkward angle, coming in with the top of the tooth facing sideways, forward or backward.
Removing your wisdom teeth can be a good method to prevent:
- crowding at the back of the mouth
- an impacted wisdom tooth stuck in the jaw and never erupting
- painful gums or infection caused by a flap of gum skin
- gum disease or tooth decay in the individual wisdom tooth or in the surrounding teeth and gums
You may want to have your wisdom teeth removed when you are younger because:
- The younger you are, the less developed your wisdom teeth roots are, and the less dense your jawbone, allowing for an easier extraction of the tooth.
- The majority of problems with wisdom teeth begin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.
- If you have a medical condition that is known to worsen with time, you may choose to have your wisdom teeth out early, while you are in your best health, to facilitate maximum healing.
Wisdom teeth extraction is rarely harmful, but there are risks associated with any surgery. Talk to your dentist today about any concerns you have regarding wisdom tooth extraction.
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