The last four permanent teeth to appear in your mouth are the third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth”.
Sometimes they become problematic – even for those of us who have the best oral health. They can also become an issue at any age.
Wisdom teeth could be as useful as any of your other teeth, but because they are in the very back of the mouth, they often don't have enough room to grow in. It's not unusual for wisdom teeth to be positioned crooked or sideways in the jaw, keeping them from erupting into the mouth properly. This is referred to as an "impacted" tooth.
When wisdom teeth problems arise, we would often recommend removing them, and there are a few good reasons why this may be a smart thing to do.
Good reasons to remove your wisdom teeth.
1) Infection - Impacted wisdom teeth can be partly grown through the gum (partially erupted) and therefore bacteria and/or food debris can collect around the gum causing swelling, pain and infection needing antibiotics. Immaculate oral hygiene is paramount in keeping these infections away.
2) Decay - Impacted wisdom teeth can become decayed or infected because they're hard to reach with your toothbrush. Also the tooth directly in front can become decayed as a result of food debris stagnating in this area.
3) Gum Disease - Bacteria around the impacted tooth can lead to gum disease and enter your bloodstream, adversely affecting your heart and other organs of your body.
4) Fluid-filled Cysts or Tumour - These occasionally form around the bottom of an impacted wisdom tooth, causing damage to the jawbone, nerves in the area and nearby teeth. This is rare.
When should they be removed?
Removing wisdom teeth carries risks of surgery so we would never recommend removal of wisdom teeth unless justified. A careful assessment and history would be taken and a full discussion about the pros and cons must be done first.
Our visiting oral surgeon Catherine Sternberg is very experienced at performing this kind of surgery and you may be able to have this treatment done at Oakthorpe Dental, avoiding the need to visit another practice or being placed on NHS waiting lists.
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