Will you need wisdom tooth removal? Maybe not. If your third molars are healthy and erupting in the proper position, pulling them might not be a must.
That said, oral surgeons often recommend proactive extraction, as keeping your wisdom teeth can lead to future complications. And, if you’re experiencing one of the following oral health problems, you may be advised to go ahead and schedule wisdom tooth removal.
An acute bacterial infection in the tissues surrounding a partially-erupted third molar, pericoronitis can be life-threatening without proper care. Treatment typically involves debriding or irrigating the area and taking a course of antibiotics, but patients with the condition may require tooth extraction.
Decay often forms on the wisdom teeth, as their position in the mouth makes the tooth surfaces difficult to clean. As such, the third molars are at a greater risk for developing cavities. When placing a filling isn’t possible, and in cases where keeping decay at bay is going to be a challenge, removal is recommended.
Like tooth decay, gum disease is a common issue for wisdom teeth due to the difficulty in keeping the area clean. Frequent cleanings by a dental hygienist and more effective at-home oral health care can be a solution. However, for many patients with gum disease, wisdom tooth removal is necessary.
The third molars are notorious for getting stuck in the gums as they come in. Whether due to a lack of space for complete eruption or improper positioning – or a combination of both factors – most impacted wisdom teeth require extraction.
Though rare, oral cysts and tumors can develop in the gum tissues near a wisdom tooth as it begins to erupt. If oral pathology is observed via x-rays, the associated third molar should be extracted and the growth should be sent for further diagnostic evaluation.
When a poorly-positioned third molar attempts to erupt, the resulting pressure can cause damage to the adjacent second molar. If root resorption is present or likely to occur, the wisdom tooth – and, possibly its neighbor – may need to be extracted.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth are a source of ongoing pain – even after eruption. The third molars can put pressure on the nerve or the pain may be of unknown origin, but either way, tooth extraction may be the only viable solution.
In some cases, the third molars fully erupt, but do so in a position that has the potential to damage the neighboring teeth and irritate the cheek and gum tissues. So, any wisdom tooth that isn’t properly aligned usually needs to be removed.
Don’t continue to wonder if you’ll need wisdom tooth removal – get an answer from the expert team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, our board-certified oral surgeons, specialize in wisdom teeth management and have over ten years of experience treating patients in northern Utah. And, with three convenient Salt Lake City area offices – in South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights and Tooele – visiting Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah couldn’t be easier.
For more information, or to schedule a wisdom tooth removal consultation, contact us today.