Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are removed only if they are deemed potentially problematic. There are several reasons a wisdom tooth might be labeled as problematic. Factors that determine whether or not wisdom teeth must be removed include jaw size, crowding, proper occlusion, and impaction. Often, radiographs taken at regular dental cleaning appointments will show when wisdom teeth extraction is recommended.
An impacted tooth is one that is blocked from erupting. Impacted wisdom teeth that are blocked from coming in properly:
- Will prevent proper hygiene and, similar to the other teeth in the mouth, result in dental caries and periodontal disease.
- May not erupt fully, remaining instead either partially or fully below the gum line.
- May cause bacteria to become trapped beneath the gum and lead to infection and gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are removed to treat active and anticipated diseases such as caries, periodontitis and associated pathology. Crowding of incisor teeth is not a reason to remove the wisdom teeth, as teeth naturally drift to the middle of the mouth in a process called mesial drift. Dr. Stasulis will evaluate your teeth and discuss what reasons they may or may not require treatment.
All tooth extractions can be performed painlessly with local anesthesia. If sedation is desired, Dr. Stasulis will discuss your options and determine if you are a candidate for the procedure in an office or outpatient hospital setting.