About 5 million US citizens have had their wisdom teeth taken out, resulting in an annual price of $3 billion.
It’s likely that you are one of the Americans who has undergone this popular procedure. If that’s so, your dentist probably extracted them because they were obstructing the wellness of the rest of your teeth. Because our wisdom teeth are the last of our grown-up teeth to form, they are often removed during our teens and early twenties. During this time, some patients don’t experience any complications. For others, painful symptoms and dental problems come with the emergence of their wisdom teeth.
A partially impacted wisdom tooth means that only a small amount of the crown is visible, and a fully impacted wisdom tooth means that it has failed to come through the patient’s gums. Wisdom teeth don’t always grow in straight, either. They have been known to grow in backward, upside down, or at an angle.
Issues Caused By Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They rupture at the back of the mouth and fail to grow typically because there is no room for them to develop. In some cases, the third molars do not cause any distress or ache; however, since these teeth are more challenging to clean, they tend to be more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay when compared to the rest of the teeth. Oral surgeons will always extract impacted wisdom teeth that are resulting in complications for the patient, and they will also suggest removing the wisdom teeth that aren’t currently causing pain under the anticipation that there will be problems in the future.
So what kinds of inconvenience is linked with impacted wisdom teeth? Here’s an outline of some conditions you might experience:
▪ Painful gums that swell or bleed
▪ Swelling and pain at the jaw
▪ Trouble opening up the mouth
▪ Bad breath
When wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause additional trouble to the surrounding teeth. Orthodontic procedures might be requested if the incoming wisdom teeth push the other molars forward, which leads to overcrowding. There is also a chance of a tumor forming in the mouth– though it is uncommon– and this occurs because the wisdom tooth can develop in a fluid-filled sac inside the jawbone, creating a cyst. If this occurs, the oral surgeon might have to take out the surrounding bone and tissue. As we mentioned above, wisdom teeth are difficult to maintain because they are located in the back of the mouth. Along with tooth decay, patients are additionally at risk of an inflammatory gum disorder referred to as pericoronitis for these very same factors.
An Average Surgery
Most of the time, the oral surgeon will take out all four wisdom teeth at the same time, but they might prefer to do a few teeth at a time depending on their or the patient’s needs. The patient will undergo general anesthesia to lower the amount of irritation they might experience during the procedure. This process can last anywhere from one to several hours. Some of the most common side effects of wisdom teeth removal are swelling and bleeding at the surgery site. These can be managed at home with gauze and ice packs, but if these side effects remain, it is smart to get in contact with the performing surgeon.
Arguments Against Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Some people argue that removing wisdom teeth is unneeded and is ultimately a way for dentists to cost significant amounts of money to their patients. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH, has published an article commenting on this perspective and the beliefs that go along with the eruption of wisdom teeth in younger patients. Needless to say, the option to move forward with wisdom teeth removal or to decide against it is ultimately up to the patient. Of course, we support patients to make an educated assessment of their pain and discomfort and to consult with Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn for help and direction when it pertains to figuring out the intensity of impaction.
If our patients are experiencing any painful dental symptoms, or if they are due for a routine exam, we encourage everyone to schedule an appointment with our team online or by phone at (419)435-6700.