Wisdom Tooth Extractions and Why They are Needed

The wisdom tooth originally got its name because it generally appears when a person is older and, presumably, wiser. Young children should get six-year molars and a pre-teen usually gets 12-year molars. The last of the molars to come in are the wisdom teeth, and they most often arrive when a person is anywhere between 17 and 25 years of age.

Unfortunately, these teeth do not actually provide people with any additional wisdom; however they can lead to a good deal of pain and discomfort, as well as potential health problems. It is because of these reasons that dentists frequently advise that a wisdom tooth be removed, often before it has fully come in.

A dentist will take X-rays of a suspect wisdom tooth to determine the cause of any problems and may perform the extraction personally or may refer a patient to an oral surgeon. These surgeons typically perform the procedure either in a surgical room or even a hospital, depending on the severity of the problem and any complications due to infection.

Why a wisdom tooth may need to be extracted

There are several factors that may justify wisdom teeth being pulled instead of spending time and money trying to save them:

1. The mouth is too small

If allowing the wisdom tooth to come in could prove the downfall of surrounding teeth due to a smaller mouth size, it is in a person’s best interest to have them removed.

2. The tooth is impacted

"Impacted" means it does not properly erupt through the gums or may even be trapped by the jawbone, creating a very painful condition. Impacted wisdom teeth can also become infected.

3. The tooth comes in crooked

This can crowd other nearby teeth, setting up a chain of crooked or laid-over teeth on down the row. Extracting the tooth before it fully erupts or immediately afterward can prevent or minimize this situation.

4. Diseased gum tissue, tumors or cysts are present

Plaque or food particles that stick to a hard-to-clean wisdom tooth can irritate the gums, even causing gum disease. Tumors due to cancer or other disease may lie beneath or near the tooth. Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) may also be caused by a buildup of bacteria due to root decay. All of these situations can be very sensitive and extremely painful.

5. There is continuous pain

Pain, for any reason, is cause for a dentist to investigate and consider a wisdom tooth extraction. The tooth may have extensive decay that goes into the pith or worse, down into the root, making it less likely the tooth can be saved. A dentist may also find that the pain is being caused by any of the other reasons mentioned above.

Conclusion

If a wisdom tooth is healthy and stable, there may be no need to consider pulling it out. However, in the many common cases that an extraction is needed, it can often bring relief and healing to your mouth.

Request an appointment here: https://www.westoversmiles.com or call Westover Dentistry at (703) 955-3723 for an appointment in our Arlington office.

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