The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to emerge when we are about 17 to 20 years old. Because our jaws are no longer large enough, wisdom teeth can cause a variety of serious problems and usually need to be removed. The more firmly anchored these teeth become, the harder they are to remove.
Complications Caused By Wisdom Teeth
Problems resulting from impacted and improperly positioned wisdom teeth include:
Gum Disease - partially exposed wisdom teeth allow bacteria to enter under the gum flap which can lead to infection and pain.
Decay - hard to clean teeth may collect cavity-causing bacteria.
Cysts - if the sac that holds the crown of the tooth stays in the bone, it can fill with fluid and form a cyst that can destroy surrounding bone.
Crowding - pushing on adjoining teeth can cause those teeth to chip or break.
Poor Position - poorly positioned teeth can irritate tissue and impair your bite.
Treating Wisdom Teeth
Early Removal - depending on diagnosis, early removal is recommended for one or more wisdom teeth, before roots become firmly embedded in the dense adult jawbone.
Erupted Wisdom Tooth (above gum surface) - extracted whole of in sections if tooth is firmly rooted.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth (under gum surface) - extracted from bone and tissue through incision. Incision is then closed with stitches.