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Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

There are various reasons why wisdom tooth extraction is required. Wisdom teeth, or third molars as they are otherwise called, are the last teeth to erupt in our mouths. They generally emerge between the ages of 17 and 25 years. Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth were the answer to our early ancestors’ diets of rough food that required a lot of chewing power. With our modern diet, however, wisdom teeth are not really needed any more. 

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Not everyone will have problems with their wisdom teeth, but most people are likely to develop problems with at least one of their wisdom teeth. What are some of the problems experienced that require wisdom teeth to be removed?

  • Your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate your wisdom teeth, causing them to become impacted, which means they cannot break through your gums.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth cannot erupt when the tooth lies at an awkward angle and they are physically prevented from erupting into the mouth. This  can cause pressure pain to the adjacent tooth. In some cases a cyst can form that can destroy jaw bone. 
  • In many cases the wisdom teeth can be partially erupted and serious infections can occur from tissue breakdown and food impaction.

A lot of orthodontic work is done on teenagers, long before wisdom teeth are expected to erupt. Any problems with wisdom teeth such as crowding adjacent teeth or wisdom teeth emerging at odd angles can negatively impact ongoing orthodontic treatments. It may even spoil the results of already completed treatments. Orthodontists will then recommend the family dentist monitor the wisdom teeth with X-rays or visually and remove if they feel it is necessary.    

Patients with fully impacted wisdom teeth are referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  The removal of the wisdom teeth can be done at the dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office. It may be removed with local anaesthetics at a dentist office or with sedation or general anesthetics by the oral maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital.   

Dr. Ralph Bastian provides a range of routine extraction and complex surgical treatments related to orthodontics, aesthetics and wisdom teeth. Contact us today for any wisdom tooth extraction treatments.