Most patients’ wisdom teeth will become impacted. That is, there is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate the large third molars, so they cannot erupt through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth are not always symptomatic, but they can cause some serious issues, such as abscesses and cysts. It is impossible to predict when an impacted wisdom tooth will cause a problem and the wisdom teeth do not perform an essential function for modern humans, so many patients will elect to have them extracted as a preventive measure.
Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause discomfort and push the other teeth out of their correct positions. These are additional motivating reasons to have the wisdom teeth removed before symptoms develop.
Patients who are pursuing wisdom tooth extraction will consult with an oral surgeon, as the procedure typically requires the removal of surrounding bone in order to access and remove the impacted wisdom teeth.
The oral surgeon will assess your case by inspecting your jaw and taking x-rays for an internal view of the wisdom teeth. The likelihood of impacted teeth can often be determined in patients as young as their early teens, and generally, wisdom tooth extraction is ideally performed before the patient turns 25 years old. It is easier to remove the wisdom teeth, which become more entrenched in the jaw with age, in younger patients, who also tend to have shorter recovery periods and face fewer complications after the surgery.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine dental procedure, but it does come with risks, as does any surgical procedure. Your surgeon will discuss these with you in detail and provide thorough post-operative instructions to help you reduce your risk of any complications. You will also be instructed on warning signs of a problem, such as persistent bleeding or fever, which could indicate a problem that warrants immediate follow-up with your surgeon.
If you still have your wisdom teeth and are interested in learning whether extraction might be recommended in your case, call our team at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to schedule an evaluation.