Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the mouth. They usually erupt quite late, therefore, they can cause several problems: erupt only partially or grow in the wrong direction. This might cause pain, and make cleaning difficult, resulting in inflammation, decay and even lockjaw. Nevertheless, they can come in handy in different situations. When is it advised to have them removed, and what good they can bring if we choose to keep them? You can find all the answers in our article.
Wisdom Teeth – On the Way to Extinction
Wisdom teeth helped our ancestors to chew hard foods such as grains more easily and efficiently. Our diet today, however, contains less solid ingredients, so there is no need for an extra set of molars. Therefore, during evolution our jawbones became smaller, making less room for wisdom teeth. The number of people born without a tooth germ for wisdom teeth is growing, and those who have them, often choose to get them extracted.
When Wisdom Teeth Cause Trouble
The main reason of extraction is that many people suffer from impacted or only partially erupted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause jawbone cysts, responsible for inflammation and even constant loss of jawbone tissue. Partially erupted wisdom teeth might painfully irritate the nerves of the jawbone, or cause pericoronitis, that is, the inflammation of the gum tissue over the tooth. Pericoronitis happens when the partially erupted tooth cannot be cleansed thoroughly, so food particles get stuck between the gum and the tooth surface. This soon becomes a hotbed for bacteria, causing tooth decay on the tooth in question and even on the surrounding teeth. The results can be bad breath, pain, inflammation, and even high fever.
Erupted wisdom teeth often have crowding effect in the dental arch, making teeth more difficult to clean, and causing severe orthodontic issues. Thus, it is vital to consider their removal before carrying out orthodontia. This way a perfect and durable end result can be ensured.
Wisdom Tooth Removal – No Reason to Be Afraid
If a panoramic X-ray or CT scan proves that wisdom teeth are indeed the cause of the problem, they are to be removed. The process is usually done under local anaesthesia, nonetheless, if it is justified by the location and number of wisdom teeth, general anaesthesia can also be applied.
Wisdom teeth, however, can be of great use if they erupt without any complications. If cared for correctly, they can serve as strong and loadable teeth that can take the place of extracted or lost teeth in the dental arch. Therefore, they are worth fighting for and keeping them healthy as long as possible.