What are wisdom teeth and why are they removed?
Wisdom teeth or otherwise called as third molars are the posterior most teeth present in the four corners of both the arches. These are the bulkiest looking among all the molars. They are not always visible in all oral cavities as, they are sometimes hidden inside the gum (impacted).
They erupt at a late age of 17 yrs to 25 yrs of age hence, called as the wisdom teeth because it is said that a person gets mature or ‘wiser’ at this age. But practically there is nothing related to being wise with the eruption of wisdom tooth.
Wisdom teeth are not generally removed unless they cause any harm or pain in the oral cavity. Sometimes everything seems normal from outside but after a dentist takes an x-ray he advises to remove it because the position of the 3rd molar may affect the second molar tooth.
The process of removing the impacted wisdom tooth is known as impaction.
Some of the reasons for its removal include-
- As it is the last tooth to erupt in the oral cavity, so it gets less space to accommodate. Therefore its eruption becomes difficult and instead of erupting straight, it changes its position in horizontal direction. In these cases it exerts pressure on the roots of the adjacent tooth thereby causing root caries. Hence, to avoid any complication impaction is done.
- For orthodontic treatment – if there is severe crowding, then your orthodontist might suggest you to for extraction of impacted molar before starting up with the orthodontic treatment.
- Pericoronitis – it is the inflammation of the gingiva on the partially erupted wisdom teeth. It becomes difficult to clean that area with a toothbrush and moreover the food particles get trapped within the tissue and cause infection. In that case the molar has to be removed.
Radiographs should be taken to evaluate the wisdom teeth. This should be done between 16 to 19 yrs of age to see if there are any impacted tooth, and if they have to be removed or not. Because at this age the root is less developed and chances of complications are also less.