Wisdom teeth – Extract them or not?
Wisdom teeth normally erupt in to the mouth between ages 15 to 25 years old. In so many cases extraction of the wisdom teeth is necessary. Following is a few reasons why it is needed to extract wisdom teeth.
- Eruption of the wisdom tooth can be painful; swelling and infection is also possible. Since the wisdom teeth are the cause of these diseases, extraction of these teeth is often indicated.
- Miss alignment of growth path of a wisdom tooth is another reason to extract a wisdom tooth. Sometimes the jaw is not large enough to accommodate adequate space for wisdom teeth, so teeth are growing at an angle or completely sideways instead of vertical. This situation will case cavity to neighboring teeth and gingivitis. When this situation occurs wisdom teeth must be extracted to prevent damage to healthy functioning teeth.
- Wisdom teeth could be pushing other straight teeth out of alignment. They could make straight teeth become crooked. If that is the case, we need to extract them.
In dentistry extractions fall under the category of “oral surgery”. Oral surgery just like surgery anywhere else in the body is associated with certain risks. The most common risk of oral surgery is infection. Dry socket is another relatively common occurrence. “Dry socket” is a condition where healing of the area of extraction ceases. It usually develops a few days after the extractions. A dry socket is associated with pain and bad smell of the mouth. Fortunately there are easy treatments for “dry socket”. It heals and self-corrects itself. Damage to surrounding tissues is another risk of oral surgery and extractions. Fortunately very most of these injuries are temporary in nature and body heals itself. Nerve damage, excessive bleeding and browses are some of the collateral damages to oral surgery.
For a person who none of the above conditions applies extraction of the wisdom teeth does not apply. They could stay in the mouth and function as a normal tooth.