In some cases, the dentists may tell the patients that they have an impacted tooth or radiographs may reveal that a tooth has not fully erupted due to insufficient space for growth or non-vertical growth. Impacted teeth usually cause no obvious symptoms or any discomfort.
Is it always necessary to extract wisdom teeth?
Impacted teeth are mostly wisdom teeth. Since impacted teeth can cause lesions such as cysts or tumors in the jaw, they are usually recommended to be extracted before the age of 25 years to minimize the risk of such complications. Wisdom teeth usually begin to erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 years. However, they may erupt either normally (i.e. vertically) or abnormally (horizontally). In addition, they may erupt completely or remain impacted.
An impacted tooth is a tooth that, for some reasons, has been blocked from breaking through the gum. Additionally, an impacted tooth may cause the decay of a nearby tooth or inflammation of its crown. An impacted tooth can also be the cause of gingival abscess or maxillofacial pains of unknown origin. Therefore, maxillofacial surgeons today believe that it is better to extract impacted teeth between the ages of 15 and 22 years, whether or not they are problematic.
Wisdom tooth extraction for orthodontics
If a patient has very crowded teeth, they are recommended to extract their wisdom teeth. Some patients may have diastemas, i.e. there is a gap or space between their teeth. In such patients, wisdom teeth are preferred to remain unextracted. If the patient has a healthy wisdom tooth but a decayed nearby molar, it is preferred to extract the decayed tooth. Then the orthodontist can use orthodontic appliances to arrange the teeth.
In some cases, crowded teeth may press the lip and cause protruding and asymmetrical lips. Such patients definitely need to extract the wisdom tooth. The orthodontist will plan the treatment process and inform the patients that whether or not they need to extract the wisdom tooth.
Does an unextracted wisdom tooth cause complications?
An unextracted wisdom tooth does not necessarily cause complications. In some cases where the patient has diastema, the orthodontist may decide not to extract the wisdom tooth to use is to bridge the gaps. However, an unextracted wisdom tooth sometimes causes complications such as:
- Dental cysts
- Periodontal diseases
- Severe jaw pains
In such cases, the wisdom tooth should be extracted so as not to damage the adjacent teeth and tissue.
Which one is more cost-effective: extraction or non-extraction of wisdom teeth?
Some patients wrongly assume that wisdom tooth extraction is the most cost-effective way to get rid of wisdom teeth. When one gets middle-aged or old, a healthy wisdom tooth can be used as a spare to replace a molar. Therefore, they can use their own natural tooth without the need for implants or dentures. Note if the wisdom tooth is an impacted tooth pressing the adjacent tooth, you need to consult an orthodontist to correct the position of your wisdom teeth.