You’ve gone to your dentist for your routine checkup. You have no pain, no discomfort in your mouth. It’s time for you to have some x-rays. After the dentist evaluates the x-rays, he tells you that you have impacted wisdom teeth and you need to go to an oral surgeon to have them extracted. What do you do?
You have a lot to consider. This kind of recommendation is especially made to younger people (usually the recommendation comes before it’s time to go off to college). It is easier to have wisdom teeth that are impacted extracted when people are younger, because the wisdom teeth roots aren’t fully developed and the dental bone is not as dense as it is in older patients. If the teeth are easier to remove, then the recovery is easier as well.
An impacted wisdom tooth is stuck under the gum, usually embedded in the jawbone. Even though you have no symptoms, there are reasons to justify extracting them. When a wisdom tooth is partially embedded in the gums and part of the crown is exposed in the mouth, there is a pocket between the gums and the tooth and this area can easily get infected. When this happens, it usually keeps getting infected (this is called a pericoronitis), and this is very painful. It makes sense to extract a tooth such as this when there isn’t room for the tooth to fully erupt into the mouth.
Other reasons for extracting a wisdom tooth are irreparable tooth decay, an abscess, cysts, tumors, or damage to the nearby teeth or bone.
It usually is advisable to have all four wisdom teeth extracted at the same time if you are going forward with the surgery, because it is usually painful after the procedure, so if you do only one or two extractions and you need others, you may not want to go back, fearing a repeat performance of pain and swelling. The extractions can be several thousands of dollars at an oral surgeon’s office, and you have to consider, there always is some risk involved in any surgical procedure. You have to consider how proactive and preventive you want to be to avoid possible problems in the future.
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