If your third molars are also known as wisdom teeth have grown correctly or are coming in in the right way without causing you almost any pain or dental problems (crowded teeth), there is no reason to remove them. Many people live their whole life with their third molars and do not experience any issue.
On the contrary, there is a situation when wisdom teeth can cause several problems, therefore, it is better to remove them. There also are dentists that suggest their patients remove their wisdom teeth at a young age before roots are fully grown. In this case, in fact, the recovery after surgery is generally faster and the young patient doesn’t experience such a discomfort and pain.
The most asked question about wisdom teeth removal is: “what are the symptoms that indicate the right time for the extraction?”
Wisdom tooth partially erupted
Partially erupted wisdom teeth meaning that at some point your third molars stopped to grow. In this situation, you can see the tip of the tooth coming out from the gingiva while the rest of the dental element remains covered by the gingival tissue.
When third molars partially erupt you are likely to experience the pathology called pericoronitis. In other words, food debris and dental plaque hide in the space between the tip of the wisdom tooth and the gum.
Since it is very hard to keep clean that back part of each dental arch, the infection can easily start to affect the tissue that surrounds the partially impacted third molar causing swelling, pain and bed breath.
In order to solve the chronic infection, your dentist may suggest proceeding with the affected wisdom teeth removal.
Fully impacted wisdom tooth
When wisdom teeth are fully impacted you cannot see them emerge from the gum because they are completely covered by the gingiva. While in case of partially impacted third molars the infection affects the gum tissue, in case of fully impacted back teeth, the infection may damage the supporting jawbone or the other teeth roots.
Removing a totally impacted wisdom tooth involves an oral surgery procedure that starts with the gingival tissue cutting to expose the hidden tooth. In the second step, the dentist or the oral surgeon usually break the tooth in 3 or 4 parts to remove them easier than removing the complete tooth in one shot.
Crowded teeth caused by third molars
Third molars may cause crowded teeth when they do not have enough space to erupt properly or when they grow horizontally instead of vertically.
When horizontal wisdom teeth grow in size, they push nearby teeth that shift to other location causing what is called crowded teeth.
Thank to X-ray exam taken during regular examinations, your dentist can easily evaluate the way your wisdom teeth are coming in and suggest their extraction to prevent problems in the near future.
Is removing wisdom teeth painful? How is the surgery procedure?
Before to get your third molars pulled out, your dentist will prescribe you antibiotics to avoid the infection developing. You should start to take antibiotics 2 or 3 days before the oral surgery and continue after the extraction for additional 3 days. This is the generic turnaround but your dentist will instruct you based on your specific case.
The day of the surgery the dentist or the oral surgeon will be administering you a local anesthesia to numb the area he or she will work on.
Based on the tooth impacted severity, the clinician has to cut the gingival tissue to expose the hidden part of the tooth and cut it into a few parts. The next step involves the dental parts extraction.
If the third molar is not impacted, the surgery will be easier and the recovery faster.
Recovery and follow-up
When the wisdom tooth extraction procedure is over, you do not feel any pain thanks to the anesthesia affect the last for an additional 30 min to 1 hour.
Once at home, you should put the ice bag on the operated area and keep it there for 15 min. In order to avoid discomfort, alternate 15 min with the ice bag and 15 min without; then repeat the procedure. The ice bag allows you to reduce the swelling.
In case of soreness or moderate pain, over the counter pain killers are the right drugs to relieve pain.
After 24/48 hours the pain should start to decrease progressively, on the contrary case, do not hesitate to call your dentist who will suggest you what to do.