Dr. Chris L. Tye, MD, DDS is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon practicing in Colleyville, TX. Dr. Tye specializes in the treatment of problems related to the face, mouth and jaws. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Tye is a unique dental specialist who can provide emergency medicine, perform general surgery and... more
Having impacted wisdom teeth removed will certainly benefit your oral health and your smile’s appearance, but your entire body will gain from the procedure as well. Therefore, it is recommended that patients who still have their wisdom teeth be evaluated by an oral surgeon to see if extraction is indicated.
Impacted wisdom teeth are associated with a number of risks, including abscesses and other infections, cysts and tumors, discomfort and damage to surrounding teeth. An infection can develop in your mouth – because it’s hard to keep impacted wisdom teeth clean and free from bacteria. Bacteria can easily collect in the vicinity of impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth because it’s the hardest part of the smile to reach with your toothbrush. Patients may not realize that the bacteria from abscesses or infections in or near those impacted wisdom teeth can easily access the bloodstream and spread throughout the rest of the body. This can create a life-threatening condition known as sepsis if not treated promptly, although this is relatively rare.
Impacted wisdom teeth can also damage the adjacent molars due to decay and gum disease. This may lead to pain of these molars and in some cases the need for deep filings, root canals, crowns, gum surgery, and/or removal of adjacent molars.
Additionally, any issue that affects the integrity of your teeth has the potential to compromise your nutritional intake if it limits your ability to chew fresh fruits and vegetables. If impacted teeth damage surrounding teeth or shift the teeth out of alignment so that they can’t chew as well, all of the cells in your body may not get the nourishment that they need.
Patients may be reluctant to consider dental surgery if their wisdom teeth aren’t causing any active symptoms, but the timing of this procedure is important. It’s impossible to predict when an impacted wisdom tooth will become problematic, but it is much more challenging for an oral surgeon to remove the third molars in older patients, when the roots of those teeth become more ingrained in the jaw, requiring more cutting to remove. Therefore, it’s preferred for patients to have their wisdom teeth removed by the time they reach their mid-twenties, as it is easier to remove the wisdom teeth in younger patients, and they bounce back more quickly after the procedure. In fact, some insurers will limit or eliminate coverage for the procedure after the mid-twenties as a preventive measure. Older patients often still need to have their wisdom teeth removed, but they may face a higher risk of complications and generally longer recovery periods. It is typical for patients to pursue wisdom tooth extraction as a preventive measure before any symptoms develop, often in the late teens or early twenties.
Patients usually consult with an oral surgeon about wisdom tooth extraction, as surrounding bone must be removed in order to access and extract the wisdom teeth. This process requires a surgical procedure rather than a simple extraction. When an oral surgeon extracts your impacted wisdom teeth, your risk of this outcome is significantly reduced.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine procedure, and it is likely that your oral surgeon has performed this procedure hundreds or even thousands of times. However, like any surgery, there are certain risks, although they are relatively rare. You will be educated on these risks before your procedure so that you can make an informed decision and take steps to prevent complications.
Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed can boost your health, so if you still have your wisdom teeth, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Chris Tye, MD, DDS at Texas Oral Surgery Specialist in Colleyville, Texas, to determine whether they are impacted and if extraction might be recommended in your case. Your smile and body may benefit from the treatment.