Growing up, we’re taught to go to the dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. This is important for our oral health and the health of our entire body. Most of us also go to the dentist for another purpose, having our wisdom teeth removed. Whether we choose to do it just so they don’t cause problems later, or we have it done because the dentist tells us to, most patients wind up having the procedure done one way or another.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal that makes us afraid of having them taken out; in fact, getting them taken out is often medically necessary. You can feel much better afterward, and it helps protect the rest of your teeth.
It is a little known fact that not everyone has wisdom teeth, but most folks who do, end up needing and having their wisdom teeth removed. Even if a wisdom tooth comes in normally, it can create spacing issues that lead to problems for the other teeth, such as shifting and cavities.
When a wisdom tooth does not come in properly is when the real problems begin. Wisdom teeth that don’t erupt through the gum become what is known as impacted or buried in the gum line. In some cases, they can even come crooked or completely horizontal, meaning they would need to be extracted from the gum.
They should generally be taken out aside from the crowding issue because those wisdom teeth that become impacted are more likely to cause gum issues, irritate tissue and cause sensitivity. An impacted wisdom tooth is more likely to become infected or start rotting without noticing it.
Wisdom teeth are usually extracted surgically by an oral surgeon. The process is not overly complex, thanks to dental technology. The patient is placed under local anesthesia, and the dentist operates to remove the tooth. Without complications, the extraction doesn’t take very long, and the dentist packs and medicates the extraction site and sends the patient home with medication for pain and swelling. Modern 3D scanners and x-ray technology have made it easier for surgeons to remove teeth with minimal damage.
The only time there is an issue is if the tooth is somehow not easily accessible or has come in in such a way that makes the extraction more complicated or more involved, such as having to dig into the gum to get the entire tooth out.