A wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure that involves removing one or more wisdom teeth. These teeth are located at the end of the lower and upper gums, right in the back of your mouth. If you have problems with your wisdom teeth, they may have to be extracted. Read to learn more about wisdom…
Why To Get A Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
It is so common for people to have a wisdom tooth extraction that it is almost considered a right of passage. However, not every person needs to have them extracted. A dental professional can help patients determine when wisdom tooth removal is necessary.
Reasons for wisdom teeth removal
The wisdom teeth are the third molars located furthest back in the mouth. For most people, these teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25.
Reasons to have wisdom teeth removed
Wisdom teeth that do not cause problems may not need to be removed. However, some people do not have enough room in the mouth for these teeth to grow properly, which can cause several problems:
- Cysts or infections due to impacted wisdom teeth
- Gum disease and infections due to bacteria trapped in partially emerged wisdom teeth
- Crowding of adjacent teeth that may cause tooth damage
The American Dental Association recommends wisdom tooth extraction when patients experience pain, cysts, recurring infections, tooth damage, tooth decay, or tumors. Because recovery from the surgery is usually faster when wisdom teeth are removed before the roots and bone are fully formed, some dentists recommend removal for younger patients before any problems occur.
Reasons not to have wisdom teeth removed
People with healthy wisdom teeth that have fully erupted and are correctly positioned for biting and chewing may not need to have them removed unless the patient has difficulty cleaning the teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction may require a couple of days off for recovery, so patients who do not have problems with these teeth may wish to avoid unneeded surgery.
However, because retaining the wisdom teeth does come with a risk of future dental problems, people should discuss this option with a dental professional and have regular checkups to ensure the teeth remain problem-free.
The extraction surgery
During a wisdom tooth extraction procedure, the dental professional makes an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. Then any bone that prevents access to the tooth root is removed. The tooth may be divided into sections if that makes it easier to remove. The tooth is then extracted and any remaining debris is removed. The dental professional may stitch the wound closed, though stitches are not always required. Gauze is placed over the site to control bleeding.
Risks of the surgery
Most people do not experience serious complications from a wisdom tooth extraction. However, some surgeries are more complex and carry higher risks than others. Rare complications include painful bone exposure, damage to structures of the mouth, and infections caused by bacteria from food trapped in the socket.
Some dentists recommend that wisdom tooth extraction be performed as a preventative measure due to the potential risks and longer recovery time associated with waiting. Others prefer to only remove them if problems develop. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with a dental professional before making a decision.
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