Wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to appear. When a patient reaches their teenage years, they can expect these teeth to start erupting behind their second molars. Depending on the particular patient, these teeth can come through without disruption or, in many cases, the area to grow may not accommodate these teeth, resulting in the need to have them removed.
There are a variety of ways the wisdom teeth can cause disruption to a patient’s smile. By being in a position that is slightly off, the teeth can still erupt fully but leave spaces that cause a gum flap. Sometimes, this extra bit of space allows that food to get trapped, resulting in cavity development. Alternatively, if the space between is too tight, it can be difficult to floss properly, a necessary step in removing plaque. While these circumstances don’t result in a great deal of immediate pain or discomfort, your dentist will encourage extraction for the overall future health of your teeth.
Wisdom teeth that don’t have the space to grow can crowd the neighboring teeth. Without room to fit, this vertical impaction can cause damage that results in discomfort and shifting. When the wisdom teeth grow at a more severe angle, it’s referred to as a mesial impaction, and they are unable to fully erupt. This causes the potential for inflamed or swollen gums, which will bring about periodontal issues if not treated.
Some less common impactions can also occur which would cause the need to have wisdom teeth removed. A distal impaction happens when the wisdom teeth are angled toward the back of the mouth, while a horizontal impaction occurs when the tooth grows in completely sideways, risking potential damage to the cheek.
When Can I Leave my Wisdom Teeth in Place?
While it is less common for a patient to keep their wisdom teeth without complication or discomfort, there are some that grow in and fit appropriately, causing no need for immediate removal. For wisdom teeth to remain in place for a patient, there must be ample enough space for it to fit, as to not cause crowding, impaction or gaps. If this criteria can’t be met and complications occur as a result of where the third molar is situated, extraction of this tooth will likely be necessary.
At Village Lane Dental Centre, we provide wisdom tooth extraction in Okotoks. Our dedicated staff will be happy to answer any questions you have concerning this procedure, and whether it’s necessary for you. Call us today to set up a consultation.