Oral & Maxillofacial Procedures; Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom or 3rd Molar Extraction

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars. When they align properly, if gum tissue is healthy, and they can be easily reached to clean, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does very typically not the case. An x-ray or Dental CT scan will help the doctor determine when is the most appropriate time for extraction.

Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal:

  • 1) Wisdom teeth that are misaligned can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
  • 2) The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.
  • ​3) Wisdom teeth that lean toward the second molars make those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris.
  • 4) Wisdom teeth that are partially erupted (gum tissue covers back on 3rd molar) allows for an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness.
  • 5) Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.
  • 6) Teeth that remain partially or completely entrapped within the soft tissue and /or the jawbone are termed “impacted.” Impacted teeth can become infected and can crowd adjacent teeth.
  • 7) The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.