My wisdom teeth aren’t bothering me. Why should I have them removed?

wisdom teeth CharlottesvilleHas your dentist recommended that you visit an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction because your wisdom teeth are coming in? You might be wondering why wisdom teeth should be removed – especially if you don’t feel discomfort or don’t notice any changes in your oral health. Although your wisdom teeth may not be bothering you right now, their retention can lead to serious oral health problems in the future.

Retention of wisdom teeth can lead to the development of periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, systemic infections called abscesses, and orthodontic problems. Other common complications associated with keeping wisdom teeth include facial pain, headaches, and the development of a malocclusion, which can stress the TMJ and supportive tissues that facilitate mouth movement.

What makes wisdom teeth so problematic?

The primary reason that wisdom teeth are an issue for enjoying vibrant oral health is the fact that wisdom teeth (third molars) come in long after the emergence of adult teeth. All but the third molars emerge during adolescence while wisdom teeth erupt in early adulthood. This means that wisdom teeth have very little room – if any – to come through the gums upright. With little room to emerge, third molars typically become impacted (stuck in the gums) and/or partially erupted. Impacted and partially erupted teeth make oral hygiene difficult and debris and bacteria tend to collect on exposed surfaces of third molars and beneath the gums. This is what increases a person’s risk for cavities, gum disease, and abscesses.

Impacted teeth can crowd the mouth and cause previously straight teeth to become crooked or overlapped. Misaligned teeth can affect the occlusion (the way that upper and lower teeth align when the mouth is closed) and strain the temporomandibular joints (the TMJs). Both of these issues can produce untimely tooth wear along with uncomfortable symptoms like facial pain and headaches.

When should I schedule a tooth extraction?

Your dentist or oral surgeon will help you determine the best time to extract wisdom teeth after a consultation and physical examination. On the day of your procedure, local anesthetics will be administered and sedatives, if needed, to ensure a comfortable procedure.

Call us at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today to book a consultation.