Wisdom teeth, the third set of molars that generally erupt in a patient’s late teens or early twenties, can be either helpful or harmful, depending on their alignment when they grow in. Often, wisdom teeth emerge at the wrong angle, causing oral health problems that necessitate their removal. Your South Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, explains the basics of wisdom teeth extraction.
To Remove or Not to Remove? That is the Question.
If wisdom teeth grow in correct alignment, they can actually be a valuable asset to the mouth. However, that is often not the case, and removal is recommended when third molars cause problems with the surrounding teeth, nerves, and jawbone. The removal of wisdom teeth has become a slightly controversial subject with many dentists, due to the fact that some people opt to have their wisdom teeth removed as a cautionary measure, even if they’re not causing problems. Certain dentists believe that removing asymptomatic wisdom teeth is just putting patients through unnecessary surgery. Ultimately though, it comes down to the personal preference of the patient.
Dangers of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In some cases, wisdom teeth extraction is strongly recommended, if not necessary. For instance, when wisdom teeth are impacted, meaning they don’t have sufficient room to grow properly, they can cause much pain. Sometimes, an impacted tooth only emerges partially through the gums, allowing bacteria to collect around it. This can result in infection, swelling, and jaw stiffness. Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause shifting or damage of surrounding teeth.
If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Wicklen today by calling our Austin, Texas dental office at (512) 448-3131. We serve patients across the South Austin area.