There is a lot of debate whether or not a person should have their wisdom teeth extracted. The fact remains, however, that most people don’t have enough room in their mouths to house their third molars without it causing incident. A shifting of the teeth can occur, as can impaction that leads to pain and dangerous infection. If one wants a wisdom tooth extracted, ideally they should do it before complications occur.
A wisdom tooth gets its name because of the age when it erupts. A person gets wisdom teeth much later than their other permanent teeth, at an age when they may be “wiser” than a child. Although it is not certain why these teeth appear when they seem to have little use, scientists theorize it all has to do with evolution. Presumably, there was a time when people needed teeth later in life after their original teeth had rotted or fallen out. Also, it should be taken into account that modern diet is much softer on teeth than it used to be, so more teeth aren’t as necessary.
A wisdom tooth can be in an impacted position several ways. First, it could be a mesial impaction, which is the most common form. A mesial impaction is when the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth. Another form of impaction is known as vertical, when the tooth does not completely erupt through the gum. Horizontal impaction is when the tooth is growing in completely sideways and directly into the molar nest to it. Finally, there is distal impaction, when the tooth is growing backward and facing the back of the mouth. Distal impaction is very rare, though.
Most young adults who are having problems with their wisdom teeth have developed pericoronitis, a bacterial infection. A wisdom tooth that has only partially surfaced through the gums can cause bacteria and food particles to build up. Pericooronitis is very painful and symptoms include swelling, foul breath, bad taste in the mouth, and an inability to open the jaw completely. Most likely, the infection will need to be treated with antibiotics before the tooth is extracted.
A wisdom tooth that has already caused problems will most assuredly do it again, growing worse each time. That is why it is a good idea to have them extracted. It is suggested that one does so at a relatively young age, ideally before the age of thirty. That insures faster healing for the patient. Those experiencing pain with wisdom teeth or those interested in having an extraction done should consult a local dentist or oral surgeon.