Reasons for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to show up in your mouth. Also known as your third molars, they get their name because they show up so late in life, typically in your late teens or early twenties. While many people get their wisdom teeth with little fuss or fanfare, many more people will struggle with complications when these teeth arrive.
We here at Stamford Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Arts believe that your wisdom teeth are unnecessary relics of a bygone era when our diets were more tough and rougher on our teeth. Now that our diets are softer and easier on our teeth, wisdom tooth extraction may be necessary to help prevent complications later on in life.
Why Would I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
One of the more common reasons that we have to remove a wisdom tooth is due to a condition known as impaction. Impaction occurs when the tooth fails to properly break through the gum line, which can lead to pain, swelling, and even an infection. There are four main types of impaction that may occur, and depending on the type of impaction that you experience, we may decide to remove your wisdom tooth.
The most common type of wisdom tooth impaction is called mesial impaction, and it occurs when the tooth is pointed toward the front of the mouth. This may not may not require extraction, but we may decide to remove the tooth to prevent later complications. On the other hand, the least common type of impaction is called distal impaction and happens when the tooth points toward the back of the mouth. Like mesial impaction, it may erupt properly, but we will monitor it regardless to make sure.
Next, you may have a vertical impaction, which means it points upward, but at a slight angle. It often erupts normally. Finally, the most painful type of impaction that may occur is called horizontal impaction and occurs when the tooth is completely on its side and pushing against nearby teeth. We will need to remove this one to relieve the pain and prevent potential damage to surrounding teeth.
Another reason that we may advise the removal of a wisdom tooth is due to tooth decay. Because your wisdom teeth are so far back in your mouth, keeping them clean may be a challenge. They are more susceptible to dental caries and may need to be removed due to cavities. These teeth are also vulnerable to infection, which can be life-threatening. Cysts may form, or painful inflammation. Lastly, your jaw may have enough space to sustain your wisdom teeth, and you may start to have problems due to overcrowding. Your surrounding teeth may be at increased risk of becoming damaged due to your wisdom teeth.
What To Look For
If you start to notice signs of infection or inflammation, we may need to assess your wisdom teeth to determine if they need to be removed. Signs of complications include pain and swelling in your mouth, a foul taste or bad breath (halitosis), a fever, any growths around your wisdom tooth, and any clues that you may have an infection (such as the presence of a “pimple” on your gums by your wisdom tooth). If you suspect that you may need a wisdom tooth extracted, or to learn more about this procedure, please give us here at Stamford Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Arts a call today at (203) 325-2661!