The wisdom tooth is the tooth, which already from a young age, is associated with several problems. It is not a problem that affects only teenagers, as it is not uncommon for someone to suffer from the wisdom tooth at an older age.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 85% of all wisdom teeth will eventually need to be extracted. If your wisdom teeth need to be removed too, at least you know that you belong to the majority of people who will undergo this procedure.
If you notice, that a wisdom is causing problems, you should consult the specialist early, in order to treat the symptoms and discuss treatment options you have.
Why does a wisdom tooth behave differently from other teeth?
The wisdom tooth, or third molar, is the last tooth of the permanent dentition and usually erupts at the age of 17-23 years.
Sometimes, however, due to lack of space, the tooth doesn’t erupt at all and remains locked in the jaw – the so-called impacted wisdom tooth. In other cases, a part of the tooth rises, while the rest remains hidden under the gums, the so-called semi-impacted wisdom tooth.
As a rule, the wisdom teeth of the lower jaw are the ones that usually cause most of the problems, but this does not mean that an upper wisdom tooth can not give symtoms at some point.
Wisdom teeth and position in the jaw
The fact that there is a wisdom in the mouth does not necessarily mean that this tooth needs to be extracted.
Quite often there is plenty of space in the jaw and the wisdom tooth can find the correct position, just like any other normal tooth (1).
However, when there is lack of space, a wisdom tooth cannot erupt into the oral cavity and gets stuck under the gums. Such an impacted wisdom tooth can be inclined (2), or horizontal and lie perpendicular to the root of the last tooth (3).
There are also cases where, despite the lack of space, a wisdom tooth manages to position itself more superficially. As a result, part of the tooth penetrates through the gums and appears in the oral cavity, while most of the tooth remains hidden in the jaw – these are the so-called semi-impacted wisdom teeth.(4).
Why does a wisdom tooth cause pain?
As the wisdom tooth is located in the posterior part of the mouth, it is almost impossible to brush it properly and as a result, bacteria develop easily around that tooth. A semi-impacted wisdom tooth communicates with the oral environment and as a result frequent infections may occur (pericoronitis), accompanied by pain, swelling, bad breath and difficulty in swallowing or limitation in the opening of the mouth.
What problems can a wisdom tooth create?
The most common problem caused by an impacted wisdom tooth is inflammation. Very often, due to close proximity to the adjacent molar, a periodontal pocket will form, causing permanent destruction of the bone. This results in frequent occurrence of periodontal inflammation that gradually weakens the support of the adjacent tooth.
A semi-impacted wisdom tooth usually presents more problems, since, in addition to frequent inflammations (1), it tends to push the other teeth forward- causing crowding and changes in position of the rest of the dentition in the jaw (2).
Καθώς αυτή η περιοχή βρίσκεται σε άμεση επικοινωνία με τη στοματική κοιλότητα και η είναι σχεδόν αδύνατον να γίνει αποτελεσματική στοματική υγιεινή, δημιουργείται τερηδόνα όχι μόνο στην φρονιμίτη ( που δεν μας είναι λειτουργικά απαραίτητος ), αλλά και στον μόνιμο δεύτερο γομφίο – τραπεζίτη (3). Έτσι αν δεν γίνει εγκαίρως η εξαγωγή του προβληματικού φρονιμίτη, θα φτάσουμε στο σημείο να χάσουμε και ένα ακόμα πολύτιμο δόντι – όπως ο δεύτερος γομφίος – με αποτέλεσμα να αλλοιωθεί η φυσιολογική λειτουργία του στόματος.
As this area is in direct communication with the oral cavity and it is almost impossible to make good oral hygiene, caries develops and cavities appear not only at the wisdom tooth (which is functionally not necessary) but also at the permanent second molar, which is an important tooth (3).
If we don’t extract the problematic wisdom tooth early, we run the risk of losing also a precious tooth – like the second molar – which will have severe consequences on the harmonic function of the mouth.
When do we remove a wisdom tooth?
It is important that we extract a wisdom tooth at an early age. This has the advantage that the roots will not be fully developed, which means easier and less painful procedure. The most important benefit from early wisdom removal is that we prevent permanent damage to the adjacent teeth and tissues.
Wisdom tooth removal is a procedure that eventually most people will need. It is done with local anesthesia, within a few days the symptoms subside and we can return to the normal lifestyle.
Straight teeth and wisdom teeth
Anyone who has had orthodontic treatment knows that wisdom teeth must be removed as soon as possible. Let’s not forget that the most common reason for orthodontic treatment is the lack of space, making teeth being crooked. After the completion of the orthodontic treatment (sometimes even before it has begun), wisdom teeth should be extracted, to ensure a smooth orthodontic treatment and a permanent result
Those lucky ones, who have always had straight teeth (without orthodontic treatment) and slowly see their front teeth moving and overlapping each other, will wonder whether a wisdom tooth could cause these changes.
Ο συνωστισμός των πρόσθιων δοντιών μπορεί να οφείλεται σε πολλούς παράγοντες, όμως ένα είναι σίγουρο: η παρουσία των φρονιμιτών μπορεί να επιβαρύνει την κατάσταση και να οδηγήσει σε ακόμα πιο έντονο ορθοδοντικό και αισθητικό πρόβλημα.
If your wisdom teeth don’t grow straight, do not hesitate to take them out! At the same time you will protect the other teeth from developing caries or becoming crooked. Choosing to remove the wisdom teeth preventively, the procedure will be far more painless and simple!
Wisdom tooth removal, for a careless, healthy smile!