By the time a person reaches his or her thirties, they may have already had one or more wisdom teeth removed. Unlike the other teeth, which present during the early and mid-childhood years, the wisdom teeth usually erupt when a person is in the later teens or early twenties. The wisdom teeth are located in the far back corners of the mouth and can cause discomfort during their eruption.
Much of the pain associated with a wisdom tooth is due to the limited amount of space along the gum line. With too little room in the mouth for a wisdom tooth to erupt in a straight alignment, the tooth may become angled beneath the gums. This can cause a wisdom tooth to apply uncomfortable pressure to the other teeth, even forcing them out of their natural configuration at times.
Additionally, the wisdom tooth may be restricted from fully presenting due to the lack of space. Instead of completely erupting, the tooth may remain partially covered by the gums, allowing the collection of bacteria and plaque that promote decay and gum inflammation. If the mouth is extremely limited in space, the wisdom tooth may never break through the barrier of the gums at all.
Regardless of the problems caused by a wisdom tooth, since the wisdom teeth are necessary for proper mastication, an extraction is often the best remedy. Here are two types of extractions that may be used.
Simple Wisdom Tooth Extraction
A simple wisdom tooth extraction occurs when the crown of the wisdom tooth is fully exposed. The extraction involves the simple pulling of the tooth from its socket. In such an instance, the reason for the extraction is often associated with decay.
Because of a wisdom tooth's location, it can be difficult to clean it properly with a toothbrush and floss. The lack of proper cleaning can encourage a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria that results in tooth decay. As the wisdom tooth's enamel is dissolved by the acids produced by the oral bacteria, the cavity that forms can allow the microbes to infect the tooth. This type of infection can spread to other teeth or even to the bone of the jaw.
Surgical Wisdom Tooth Extraction
A surgical extraction requires the gums to be cut to remove the tooth. A surgical extraction is often performed if the wisdom tooth still lies partially or fully below the gums. The procedure can prevent the tooth from causing a dental misalignment or continued discomfort.
For more information about wisdom teeth extractions, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.