General Dentistry

Wisdom teeth : To keep or to Remove?

Introduction :
What are Wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last of the teeth to erupt in the mouth.

When to keep Wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are usually not of any functional importance,
In case, if the wisdom tooth erupts in the oral cavity completely without any pain or discomfort, it is absolutely okay to retain it in mouth.
Provided the oral care of this tooth is taken care of properly, it will not create any major issues in mouth.

When to remove Wisdom teeth?

An impacted wisdom tooth is one that fails to erupt into the dental arch within the expected developmental window. Because impacted teeth do not erupt, they are retained throughout the individual’s lifetime unless extracted or exposed surgically. Teeth may become impacted because of adjacent teeth, dense overlying bone, excessive soft tissue or a genetic abnormality. Most often, the cause of impaction is inadequate arch length and space in which to erupt.

In this case, extraction of this impacted teeth is extremely indicated.

What are the types of an impacted wisdom teeth?

  1. Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar).
  2. Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth.
  3. Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone.
  4. Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone.

What are problems associated with Wisdom Teeth impaction?

  1. Pain.
  2. Trapping food and debris behind the wisdom tooth.
  3. Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease).
  4. Tooth decay in a partially erupted wisdom tooth.
  5. Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding bone.

How is wisdom tooth removed?

Removal of impacted wisdom tooth is a minor surgical procedure which is done following the proper radiological examination of the position of tooth and its relation with the underlying nerve.

During the procedure the underlying nerve and the surrounding local areas are first anaesthetized and later the removal of tooth is done.

The removal of teeth may or may not include giving incision, removal of obstructing bone, sectioning of tooth, suturing etc. based on case to case requirement.

Take away message

It is always better to look at the well being of functionally important teeth (other than wisdom teeth) while deciding whether to keep or to remove the wisdom teeth which is as such functionally unimportant.

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