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Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Reasons for extraction of wisdom (third molar) teeth and other impacted teeth

Teeth are formed deep within the jaw bones and growth of teeth into the mouth is a natural process. If a tooth grows in the wrong direction, or if it is blocked from reaching its normal position in the mouth, it is said to be IMPACTED. Lack of jaw bone space, unusual growth, blockage by another tooth, dense jaw bone formation, unduly long retention of the temporary (baby) teeth, or some other obstruction can cause a tooth to become impacted. Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth which are supposed to grow into the mouth when a person is about eighteen years of age. These teeth are most frequently found to be impacted.

Can an impacted tooth or teeth cause harm?

Yes. The impacted tooth or teeth, whether they can be seen in the mouth or not, are subject to cavities in the same manner as non-impacted teeth and, if neglected, can cause a severe toothache. The impacted tooth or teeth will have to be extracted as they cannot be successfully filled. With incomplete growth of an impacted tooth ever present mouth bacteria can become "trapped" under gum tissue and produce severe localized infections. These infectious conditions can spread to one's mouth, throat or neck, producing headaches, sore throats, swollen faces, stiff jaws and prolonged generalized personal discomfort.. An impacted tooth can also cause damage to an adjacent tooth by pressing against it; especially so, if the impacted hard enamel tooth crown is in contact with the soft root structure of the adjacent tooth. The tooth under pressure may be injured, requiring further dental treatments even after extraction of the impacted tooth. Also, when a tooth does not erupt completely, or is entirely embedded in the jaw bone, developmental tissues that are normal can change into very active tissues that become abnormal as they form into jaw "cysts." These very active tissues can destroy bone, other adjacent teeth, and can sometimes transform themselves into highly aggressive tumors.

Why not wait until impacted teeth become bothersome before having them removed?

Fortunately, most impacted teeth do not cause great harm. But in the same context, they are not beneficial. They are a continual source of potential problems. X-rays do not conclusively reveal which impacted teeth are going to become a problem or when they may become bothersome. The extraction of impacted teeth is less involved surgically for individuals in their teens or twenties. Older individuals undergo more involved surgical procedures since their impacted teeth are completely formed and the jaw bone is more solid. The recovery period is also usually prolonged for these individuals. Additionally, a "bothersome" tooth sometimes may not be immediately extracted until an infection or other complication has been cleared up. This additional time for treatment leads to prolonged periods of personal discomfort and disability. Professionally speaking: An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

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