Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the four adult teeth that most individuals have that are located at the back of the mouth on each side, both top and bottom. These teeth usually erupt in late teens or early twenties, and if they do not present any problems, they are generally left alone.
But for many young adults, these teeth grow in crooked or become impacted (they do not erupt through gum tissue due to no room or they are growing in at a different angle).
For the thousands of young adults that have impacted wisdom teeth, the common diagnosis is a visit to the oral surgeon for extraction. What would happen if these impacted wisdom teeth were left alone? Infection, malocclusion (improper bite), and discomfort are the primary reasons to extract impacted wisdom teeth.
- Infection – Partially erupted wisdom teeth become a breeding ground for food to become trapped. As bacteria grow, the incidence of infection increases.
- Malocclusion – Young adults facing the prospect of braces because they lack the jaw space to accommodate all of their adult teeth might opt for removing these third molars to allow their mature teeth to grow in correctly.
- Discomfort – Third molars that are impacted or partially erupted can create considerable discomfort. Removing these teeth offers relief for the patient while removing an obstacle for potential future problems.
What are the disadvantages to removing wisdom teeth? Besides the minor discomfort, a diet of soft foods and not drinking through a straw for a week or two, removing the third molars is a pretty benign procedure.
For most patients, impacted third molars will be removed by an oral surgeon. Usually patients are permitted to return to work or school the next day with very few limitations. The only medication needed is either prescribed by your oral surgeon or available across the counter.
Upon completion of the extraction and healing process, the patient can enjoy the same quality of life, eat the foods most cherished, and revel in the comfort of knowing the complications once anticipated by those pesky third molars no longer lingers.
As with any dental issue, patients should seek and follow the advice of a trusted dental professional which will afford the best course of action for the optimum result. Contact the Salt Lake City practice of Dr. Judd E. Partridge for additional information and to schedule your professional consultation today.