The wisdom tooth is the most common tooth to remain stuck in the jaw. The variation associated with wisdom teeth influences the intricacy of treatment planning and long-term maintenance of a healthy mouth.1
Reasons For Wisdom Teeth Removal
Listed below are the most common causes leading to the removal of wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth often lack the space to emerge or develop normally. This leads to impacted wisdom teeth trapped within your jaw or under your gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to discomfort, swelling, and even the formation of cysts.
2. Pain and Discomfort
Wisdom teeth can cause significant pain as they try to break through the gum tissue. This can be a persistent issue until they are removed and, in some cases, even constitute a dental emergency.
3. Incorrect Growth
Wisdom teeth may grow at various angles, sometimes horizontally. This incorrect growth pattern can cause damage to adjacent teeth and may require removal to protect the overall health of your mouth.
4. Gum Infection
The partial eruption of wisdom teeth can create an opening in the gums where bacteria can enter, leading to infection. This may result in pain, swelling, and general illness.
5. Tooth Decay
Partially erupted wisdom teeth can also lead to tooth decay. Because these teeth are hard to clean due to their position and alignment, they can collect food particles and encourage bacterial growth, leading to decay of the wisdom teeth and adjacent teeth.
Wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding in your mouth, affecting the alignment of other teeth and potentially causing orthodontic issues. This can also compromise the effectiveness of previous orthodontic treatment.
7. Periodontal Disease
Improperly erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and may contribute to the development of periodontal disease (gum disease), which can have long-term implications for oral health.
8. Preventive Measures
Some dental professionals recommend wisdom teeth removal as a preventive measure to avoid future dental complications, even if the teeth are not currently causing issues.
When Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?
This article further discusses in detail why wisdom tooth removal may be necessary. Here are the four scenarios2 based on which your dentist might take a call on whether to remove your wisdom teeth or not and the treatment options and procedure for each one.
1. You have some symptoms indicating a problem with wisdom teeth, and your dentist finds a disease associated with it.
You may face severe pain, swelling, and inability to open your mouth. On visiting your dentist, the dentist performs a complete oral checkup to reveal a condition around the wisdom tooth. The clinical finding may be inflamed gums around wisdom teeth (Pericoronitis), spreading infection in and around the throat region. Also, a radiograph (X-ray) may show indications of decay in the tooth.
Pericoronitis or inflamed gums around partially visible wisdom teeth are typically mild to moderate. In such instances, around 25 to 30% of wisdom teeth are removed due to the sudden onset or repeated appearance.
Decay in wisdom teeth may cause pain. The inability to reach certain areas of the mouth during brushing can lead to decay. Wisdom teeth decay may account for 15% of total wisdom teeth removed. Inflamed gums and decay in wisdom teeth may cause infection extending to the pulp tissues. It can lead to the localized spread of disease in the neighbouring soft tissue.
Typically during such a scenario, dentists may focus on addressing the issues posed by the disease present. Accordingly, choose a tailor-made therapy for filling the decay, scaling of teeth, or gum disease treatment, and you may have to get wisdom teeth removed.
2. You have some symptoms indicating a problem with wisdom teeth. However, the dentist is unable to identify any direct correlation.
Such scenarios occur with a smaller proportion of people. One situation is when you have a vague pain in the hindmost teeth region. You can consider it to be a wisdom tooth that has sufficient room to emerge, but either hasn’t done so yet or is on the verge of doing so.
Sometimes, pain due to the surrounding facial muscles or unusual pain due to the misfiring of neural impulses may lead to symptoms similar to wisdom teeth pain. Dentists explain the necessary treatments and the alternatives if you need to remove wisdom teeth.
3. You have no symptoms indicating a problem with wisdom teeth. However, your dentist finds a disease associated with it.
Very often, such a scenario exists with gum diseases leading to continuous tissue damage and spreading inflammation. An unusual feature in these cases is the absence of pain that usually accompanies inflammation.3 Researchers noticed deeper pockets and bugs that cause gum diseases in the third molar regions of young adults.
Further, Researchers observed a consistent trend where the frequency of tooth decay rises with increasing age and the emergence of wisdom teeth in young adults. Both diseases were common in individuals showing no symptoms for removing wisdom teeth.
Although relatively rare, the occurrence of tooth-associated cysts and tumours with impacted third molars is a possibility. Many people do not visit the dentist with any problem and learn about these conditions accidentally on a radiograph. Even in these scenarios, the line of treatment is similar to scenario one: perform scaling to treat gum disease and fill the decay. The wisdom teeth are removed when associated with a cyst or tumour.
4. You have no symptoms indicating a problem with wisdom teeth and no disease that compels wisdom teeth removal.
Even though the possibility of such a scenario is hard to eliminate, it might be uncommon to have all four wisdom teeth disease-free. The odds of fully erupted and functional third molars or wisdom teeth fully buried in the bone are part of it. In such scenarios, the dentist weighs the risks and benefits, and the patients get their wisdom teeth removed after a thorough review considering their preferences. Several situations can arise other than gum disease and decay when you should get wisdom teeth removed.
More Reasons Why Wisdom Teeth Are Removed
Molar teeth are grinders by function. The basic necessity for its functioning is complete eruption in the position. In situations with no opposing teeth owing to prior removal or absence by birth, you get your wisdom teeth removed.
If a wisdom tooth interferes with the emergence of the penultimate molar or affects the health of adjacent teeth, it must be removed.
Surgeons perform jaw alignment surgeries to correct jaw position. Wisdom teeth may interfere with the place of the cut. You may get wisdom teeth removed to avoid unpredictable results well before jaw surgery.
The Importance of Professional Wisdom Teeth Removal
Among the several reasons, decay, its effects, and inflamed gums around teeth are the most common reasons for wisdom teeth removal. Recurrent inflamed gums around wisdom teeth are found in relatively younger adults, whereas decay and periodontitis are in older individuals, for which urgent periodontal treatments may be required.
Whether it is preventive care or treatments, it is crucial to get them from certified professionals to avoid any further issues with your teeth or overall dental health. Such professionals are highly experienced and have the expertise to treat a wide range of dental problems. At Trafalgar Dental Oakville, we offer complete dental care for patients of all ages. Schedule an appointment today for a personal consultation with our dental expert.
- Kandasamy, S., Rinchuse, D., & Rinchuse, D. (2009). The wisdom behind third molar extractions. Australian Dental Journal, 54(4), 284-292. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2009.01152.x
- Steed MB. The indications for third-molar extractions. J Am Dent Assoc. 2014 Jun;145(6):570-3. doi: 10.14219/jada.2014.18. PMID: 24878712.
- Gaurilcikaite E, Renton T, Grant AD. The paradox of painless periodontal disease. Oral Dis. 2017 May;23(4):451-463. doi: 10.1111/odi.12537. Epub 2016 Aug 1. PMID: 27397640.