You Ask , They Answer
: What are wisdom teeth ?
: Wisdom teeth are the third molars in your mouth and are the last , most posteriorly placed permanent teeth to erupt . They typically erupt between 17 and 25 years of age but can also appear many years later .
Space for wisdom teeth to erupt can be limited compared to other teeth . They therefore often fail to erupt or erupt only partially , often due to impaction or the front second molars blocking their path . An impacted wisdom tooth is called asymptomatic if the patient does not experience signs of pain or discomfort associated with this tooth .
: How could they create health problems ?
: Impacted wisdom teeth may be associated with pathological changes , such as swelling and ulceration of the gums around the wisdom teeth called pericoronitis . Chronic recurrent pericoronitis can cause mild episodes of recurrent infection and pain . If pericoronitis is left untreated , it can lead to damage to the roots of the second molars , dental decay or cavities , gum and bone disease around the second molars , or , in rare cases , cyst formation and tumours .
An impacted mandibular third molar is one of the most frequent causes of dental infection . Removal of the impacted tooth helps prevent facial space infection of the neck which can be potentially life-threatening .
: When should people have them removed ?
: The decision to have wisdom teeth removed mainly depends on whether there are symptoms of pain , pathological conditions , or the presence of disease related to the wisdom teeth .
A more challenging management decision is how to treat an asymptomatic , disease-free wisdom tooth .
: What does the procedure involve ?
: If your dentist recommends the removal of your wisdom teeth , an x-ray is first taken to determine its positioning and complexity . Before teeth removal , local anesthesia is applied to numb the surrounding areas . General anesthesia may also be an option for more complex procedures or increased comfort .
If the wisdom tooth is non-visible through the gum , a small incision is made into the gum . A small piece of the bone covering the tooth may also need to be removed . The tooth may possibly be cut into smaller parts to make it easier to remove through the opening .
Stitches may be used to seal the gum where incisions are made . Your dentist will inform you when to remove the stitches or how long it may take for dissolvable stitches to dissipate .
: What are the risks of wisdom teeth removal ?
: Many individuals experience swelling in their mouth or cheeks after an operation or may not be able to fully open their mouth for the first few hours to days . Most individuals feel temporary pain after the procedure .
It is possible that nerves and blood vessels can be impacted or damaged during the procedure . This can cause bleeding and usually temporary numbness in the tongue or face . The risk varies with the extensiveness of the procedure .
It can take up to two weeks to recover from wisdom teeth removal . During the healing period , you should report any excess bleeding , severe pain , or any other unusual symptoms to your dentist immediately .
Compiled by the Oral and Maxillofacial Department of the Bangkok International Dental Hospital ( BIDH ).
8 JULY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com