Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them and Should They Be Kept or Removed?

Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them and Should They Be Kept or Removed?

Posted by DENTAL HEALTH PC on Jun 4 2021, 07:15 AM

Most adults develop their third set of molars when they are between the ages 17 and 21. These teeth are called “wisdom teeth” since they are the last ones to erupt, implying that people are probably "wiser" when these teeth emerge.

What Causes Problems with Wisdom Teeth?

When your jaw is too small to accommodate wisdom teeth, they might not always erupt through the gums. They might get impacted in the jaw and cause pain, swelling, and infection in the gums or crowding of the teeth. The infection could lead to the formation of a cyst, damaging the bone or roots of the tooth. Also, fully-emerged wisdom teeth are more prone to cavities as they are not easy to reach with a toothbrush. 

On the other hand, wisdom teeth usually do not cause any concerns if they are:

  • Fully erupted
  • Healthy
  • Properly positioned 
  • Can be cleaned well

When Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Needed?

Wisdom teeth may need to be removed in the following circumstances: 

  • If the wisdom teeth are causing damage to other teeth by pushing them out of position, causing mouth pain and bite problems.
  • If the infection or cyst is severe and is causing damage to the jaw and nerves.
  • If the problems with wisdom teeth have led to sinus pain and congestion.
  • If the gum around the teeth is inflamed.
  • If the inflamed gums have created pockets between the teeth that allow bacteria to grow and cause cavities.
  • If the impacted wisdom teeth have led to crowding of other teeth in the mouth. 

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Always Necessary?

It is best to remove your wisdom teeth if they are impacted, crowded, or are causing infection, inflammation, or damage to the other teeth. However, if your wisdom teeth have erupted properly, in an upright and functional position, and they don’t cause pain, cavities, or infection, they often don't need to be removed. It is important that you take extra care while brushing and flossing them to avoid decay in the future.  

What is the Process for Surgically Removing Wisdom Teeth?

  • Sedation:You will be administered with a sedative in the form of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation. The surgeon then numbs the wisdom teeth and their surrounding tissues with a local anesthetic.
  • Tissue removal:To access the teeth, the surgeon removes any gum tissue covering the area and makes an incision.
  • Bone removal:If the impacted wisdom tooth is fully or partially covered with bone, it is removed using a high-speed handpiece.
  • Loosening and removal of the tooth: The dentist uses surgical instruments to gently loosen the teeth from any connective tissue in the teeth's sockets and gently remove them. 
  • Stitches:After removing the teeth, the surgeon may add stitches if needed to close the wound.

Call Dental Health PC, Corvallis, OR at (541) 757-1829 to talk to our dentist if your wisdom tooth is causing problems.


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Phone: (541) 757-1829