Wisdom teeth are extracted for two general reasons: either the wisdom teeth have already become impacted, or the wisdom teeth could potentially become problematic if not extracted.
What are impacted wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are the third molars, the last teeth to erupt. Impacted wisdom teeth are unable to erupt. They may have grown in at an awkward angle or are blocked by another tooth or even your jawbone. Over time, your impacted tooth could cause problems such as decay, damage to other teeth or pain.
Wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21. However, they may begin causing problems years earlier. There is not always enough room at the back of your jaw for your wisdom teeth, this can lead to inflammation, pain and difficulty opening your jaw.
Potential problems caused by the presence of improperly grown-in wisdom teeth include infections caused by food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth where regular brushing and flossing is difficult and ineffective. Such infections may be frequent, and can cause considerable pain and medical danger.
Another reason to have a wisdom tooth removed is if the tooth has grown in improperly, causing the tongue to brush up against it.
Dr. Bonvallet will always suggest saving a tooth whenever possible. Other than wisdom teeth, you may have other problematic teeth that have decay or have been traumatized. There are ways to save your original teeth from extraction and we suggest that you speak with Dr. Bonvallet or one of our Bonvallet Dental team members before you decide which course of action is best for you.