I’m an Emergency Dentist in Brisbane. In this article, I try to explain why sometimes dentists recommend extracting your wisdom teeth while they don’t seem to have any issues today. When recommended by your dentist, wisdom teeth extraction can be beneficial to your overall oral health conditions because they affect the well-being of your other teeth.
Most people have a total of four wisdom teeth, one wisdom tooth in each of the quadrants. About 35% of the population (including myself) do not develop some of their wisdom teeth and a small number of people have an odd number of wisdom teeth in their mouth.
If your dentist has diagnosed that your wisdom teeth are impacted and can cause problems in future, then they should be extracted before they cause complications. Also, extraction at younger age is preferred to older age when the healing power of the body is reduced.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Impacted wisdom tooth is a dental term that describes a condition where there is not sufficient space to allow for the growth of a wisdom tooth. Growth space or a normal eruption may be blocked by the neighbouring tooth, bone or gum tissues above a wisdom tooth.
An impacted wisdom tooth can become infected, painful or even damage other teeth adjacent to it. If the sac surrounding an impacted wisdom tooth is filled with fluid it can develop into a cyst and if the cyst is not treated, then complicated surgical procedures may be required to remove it.
Have your Wisdom Teeth Examined!
Sometimes damage by a wisdom tooth takes place without the person being aware of it. A silent impacted wisdom tooth is an impacted wisdom tooth that is not painful or visible to you yet. I’m an Emergency Dentist in Brisbane and recently I had a late-night call from a young female patient complaining about excruciating sudden pain at the back of her mouth, suspicious of wisdom tooth pain and she was concerned about her international cruise travel in the morning. Situations like this could have been avoided by a dental check-up a couple of weeks before a major travel.
Sometimes, even after the removal of an infected wisdom tooth, the healing process of the socket may become a bit complicated due to development of a tooth dry socket and you should go back to your dentist or any emergency dentist near you to receive further treatments.
To avoid such complications, it is recommended to have your teeth examined by a dentist using dental X-rays and remove wisdom teeth before they become infected or symptomatic.
The Best Age for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
According to statistics, about 4 out of 5 people will eventually need to remove their wisdom teeth. The best time to remove them is before they become painful or infected.
The best age to have your wisdom teeth checked by a dentist would be around 16-18 when the roots are have not fully formed and are easier to remove. When the patient is too young e.g. 13 or under, wisdom teeth may still be in a bud stage and will be difficult to pull out. Dentist usually use an x-ray image (OPG) to ascertain how much of the tooth is formed and whether it requires extraction or not.
Like every other organ in the body, wisdom teeth grow too. When wisdom teeth start to grow they are smaller, they have shorter roots and they are easier to remove. As the roots grow longer, they become stronger and they become more difficult to remove.
If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, you should not wait until your wisdom tooth begins to bother you.
Reasons to Consider Wisdom Teeth Extraction
If you are a teenager, you should have your wisdom teeth examined by a dentist using dental x-rays and remove them if extraction is recommended by your dentist. The reasons to consider removal of your wisdom teeth include:
- You avoid painful toothache or infection
- You avoid need for an emergency appointment
- Tooth socket heals faster when there is no infection
- Removal of wisdom teeth is easier when there is no infection
- They are easier to remove when you are a teenager and they have shorter roots
- You need to remove them eventually and it is best to remove them when your body has maximum healing power
If you are no longer a teenager and you have not had your wisdom teeth x-rayed and examined by a dentist, you should consider making a dental appointment to have them checked as soon as you can.
Wisdom Tooth Pain
A good percentage of complaints about wisdom teeth pain is caused when the tooth irritates the gums. The irritation is caused by the tooth pushing the gum tissues upwards. Irritation can cause swelling in the gum tissues which is further irritated by the opposing teeth. This can lead to infections in the wisdom tooth area and it can be extremely painful for the patient. The infection can become very serious because it can spread to the patient’s face and the inflammation can become large in an alarming way. Impacted wisdom teeth can turn into a big problem. And surgical removal can be painful and expensive. It is recommended to have a dentist monitor the movements of your wisdom teeth when you are a teenager so that it can be removed before it leads to infection and other complications.
Sometimes, after the removal of a wisdom tooth, the recovery and the healing process can be trying or painful, nevertheless, the wisdom of wisdom tooth is to remove it when it can adversely affect your oral health. Majority of people recover quickly a few days after the extraction and are happy that they have had the troubling teeth removed.
Dr. Ellie Nadian (Pure Dentistry)
Tel: (07) 3343 4869
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.