Sooner or later, impacted wisdom teeth are likely to cause pain, sending many patients to their oral surgeon for extraction.
Sometimes, however, wisdom tooth impaction causes no pain. Your third molars could be stuck in the gums and you may not even realize you have a problem until you see the X-rays.
If that’s the case, is wisdom tooth extraction really necessary?
Likely so, because leaving impacted wisdom teeth in place can compromise your oral health in a variety of ways. And that’s why oral surgeons typically recommend extraction for patients who have wisdom tooth impaction.
No. 1: Impacted Teeth Can Cause Damage
Impacted wisdom teeth can damage their neighbors. As they erupt, they may emerge at an angle — or even horizontally — and grow directly into the neighboring second molars. If this happens, the teeth can become damaged externally or through root resorption.
No. 2: Impacted Teeth Often Have Extensive Decay
Wisdom tooth impaction makes cleaning the back of the mouth even more of a challenge than it already is. The gums near partially erupted third molars trap food and bacteria, which leads to tooth decay. Extraction is essential to prevent the decay from spreading.
No. 3: Impacted Teeth Can Create Misalignment
When impacted third molars are not extracted, patients often develop tooth misalignment as a result of the pressure. Minor issues may not be easily noticeable, but left untreated, misaligned teeth often require complex orthodontic treatment or oral surgery — or both — later on.
No. 4: Impacted Teeth Are at Risk for Pericoronitis
Impacted wisdom teeth have pockets in the gums where infection-causing bacteria like to hide. Eliminating the bacteria is difficult, and when it remains unchecked, a painful oral infection called pericoronitis can set in.
No. 5: Impacted Teeth Can Develop Oral Cysts
Without extraction, patients with wisdom tooth impaction can end up with oral cysts, or fluid-filled sacs in the jawbone. If the cysts become infected, a painful condition referred to as a tooth abscess can develop. Oral cysts can also grow to the point where they cause structural damage to the teeth, nerves or jaw.
Are your wisdom teeth impacted? To find out for sure, make an appointment at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.
Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly, our highly skilled, board-certified oral surgeons, have over 10 years of experience treating wisdom tooth impaction. And at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we provide compassionate care, taking every possible step to ensure our patients have a comfortable extraction experience.
If you live in the greater Indianapolis area, contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and schedule a professional consultation to discuss impacted wisdom teeth today.