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Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? | Our Dental Blog

Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Feb 7 2019

Approximately 5 million people in the US have had their wisdom teeth removed, accruing in a yearly price of $3 billion. Are you one of the patient’s who have received this routine procedure? If so, the dentist likely extracted your wisdom teeth because they were impacting the condition of the rest of your teeth. Because our wisdom teeth are the last of our adult teeth to erupt, they are usually pulled during our teens and early twenties. For some patients, their wisdom teeth emerge without any side effects. For others, painful symptoms and dental problems follow the development of these teeth.

A wisdom tooth can be partially or fully impacted. A partially impacted wisdom tooth means that only a small amount of the crown is noticeable, and a fully impacted wisdom tooth means that it has failed to break through the patient's gums. Additionally, they have been known to grow in at angles, backward, and even upside down.

Issues Created by Wisdom Teeth

Third molars are also known as impacted wisdom teeth. They appear at the back of the mouth and fail to develop normally because there is no room for them to grow. There are some cases where the third molars do not cause any distress or discomfort; however, since these teeth are more difficult to clean, they tend to be more prone to gum disease and tooth decay compared to the rest of the mouth. Oral surgeons will always take out impacted wisdom teeth that are creating complications for the patient, and they will also suggest removing the wisdom teeth that aren't currently causing pain under the precaution that there will be concerns in the future.

So what sorts of soreness is identified with impacted wisdom teeth? Here's a rundown of some signs and symptoms you might experience:

  • Painful gums that bleed or swell
  • Pain and swelling at the jaw
  • Problem opening up the mouth
  • Bad breath

When wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause even more damage to the surrounding teeth. Orthodontic procedures might be needed if the incoming wisdom teeth force the other molars ahead, creating overcrowding. There is a risk of a tumor growing in the mouth-- though it is infrequent-- and this comes about because the wisdom tooth can develop a cyst since it is growing in a fluid-filled sac within the jawbone. If this arises, the oral surgeon could have to take out the surrounding tissue and bone. Wisdom teeth are difficult to maintain because they reside in the back of the mouth. Along with tooth decay, patients are also at risk of developing an inflammatory gum problem referred to as pericoronitis for these exact reasons.

An Average Surgery

Typically, the oral surgeon will get rid of all four wisdom teeth together, but they might prefer to do a few teeth at a time depending on their or the patient's inclinations. The patient will undergo general anesthesia to lessen the amount of discomfort they might feel during the procedure. Depending on the amount of teeth that are being extracted, this surgery can last anywhere from one to several hours. Probably the most common negative side effects of wisdom teeth removal are swelling and bleeding at the surgery site. These could be managed at home with gauze and ice packs, but if these side effects linger, it is wise to call the performing surgeon.

Arguments Against Wisdom Tooth Extraction

A number of people say that removing wisdom teeth is unnecessary and is surely a way for dentists to charge enormous amounts of money to their patients. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH, has published an article elaborating on this perspective and the beliefs that associate with the eruption of wisdom teeth in young patients. Needless to say, the choice to move forward with wisdom teeth removal or to decide against it is essentially up to the patient. That being said, we urge our patients to make an informed diagnosis of their pain and discomfort and to speak with Dr. Sato and his team for information and direction when it comes to diagnosing the severeness of impaction.

Our patients can schedule their next appointment online or by phone at (937)226-1400. We look forward to seeing you!

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Steve A. Sato, DDS
1222 S. Patterson Blvd
Dayton, OH 45402

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