Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Why are Wisdom Teeth/3rd Molars most often Extracted by Dentists

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, officially referred to as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop. They are located in the very back of your mouth, next to your second (or twelve year) molars and near the entrance to your throat. Third molars are usually completely developed between the ages of 15 and 18, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of "wisdom."
By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth in the upper jaw and 16 teeth in the lower jaw. Unfortunately, the average adult mouth is only large enough to accommodate 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth.

Why Do We Even Have Wisdom Teeth?

Anthropologists theorize that back in the “cave days” our diet was much coarser than it is today. Also, there were not any dentists around to help us keep and maintain our teeth, and finally, there was not any fluoride in the water. So by the time we reached our late “cave teens”, we most likely had already lost several of our teeth due to trauma or decay. With the loss of adjacent teeth, the third molars now had space to erupt into our mouths, and therefore actually served a purpose – to replace lost teeth and help us chew better.
In modern times we have great general dentists to help us keep our teeth, a softer diet, and fluoride in our water. So we tend to keep most, if not all, of our teeth. Therefore, wisdom teeth commonly do not have enough room to erupt fully into our mouths. Even if the wisdom teeth do fully erupt, their posterior location makes it extremely difficult to keep them clean and healthy over the course of a lifetime. Removing wisdom teeth later on in life is much more difficult, the recovery period is longer and less predictable, and most importantly, wisdom tooth removal later in life is associated with increased risks and complications.

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

  • Soft Tissue Impactions – There is adequate jaw bone to allow the wisdom tooth to erupt, but not enough room to allow the gum tissue to be properly positioned and attached to the tooth. This causes tremendous problems because it is not possible to keep the area clean. Infection commonly occurs, resulting in swelling and pain.
  • Partial Bony Impactions – There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt, but it cannot function in the chewing process. The tooth remains partially covered by bone and soft tissue. Once again, keeping the area clean is impossible and problems commonly develop.
  • Complete Bony Impactions – There is no space for the tooth to erupt. The tooth is completely covered by bone, or if it is partially exposed through the bone, it requires complex removal techniques.
  • Unusually Difficult Complete Bony Impactions – The impacted wisdom tooth is in an unusual and difficult position to remove.
Infected Wisdom Tooth Extracted by Oral Surgeon in Decatur GA
Wisdom Tooth Damaging adjacent teeth. Extracted by Oral Surgeon in Decatur GA
Infected Wisdom Tooth Extracted by Oral Surgeon in Decatur GA
Infected Wisdom Tooth Extracted by Oral Surgeon in Decatur GA
If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to erupt into proper position they can cause a multitude of problems, such as:
  • Infection – Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling and problems with chewing and swallowing.
  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth – If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front of the wisdom tooth, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease (bone loss) or cavities (caries or decay).
  • Disease – Non-infectious diseases also can arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jawbone which are associated with impacted wisdom teeth and slowly expand, destroying adjacent jawbone and occasionally adjacent teeth. Although rare, certain tumors can be associated with impacted teeth. Both of these conditions can be very difficult to treat.
  • Crowding – Although controversial, many feel that impacted wisdom teeth directly contribute to crowding, or shifting, of your teeth. This crowding is usually most noticeable in the lower front teeth. This is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are most likely a number of factors that cause our teeth to shift and impacted wisdom teeth may play a contributory role. Although wisdom tooth removal cannot be recommended solely to avoid crowding, it can be recommended in order to absolutely eliminate any possible role in future crowding and other bite changes.