If you have a tooth that unfortunately cannot be saved, we can extract it for you and discuss your treatment options for replacement. Please visit our "Implants", "Bridges", and "Dentures" pages for more information about replacing missing teeth. A small number of extractions may have to be referred to an oral surgeon, typically only the case for horizontally impacted wisdom teeth.
Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars)
Most of the time wisdom teeth need to be extracted for the following reasons:
1. There is simply not enough room for them.
2. If they stay unerupted (impacted) cysts may form around them.
3. If they partially erupt, periodontal (soft tissue) abscesses are common. These come and go and have to be treated with antibiotics and oral rinses. When the tissue swells, many times the opposing teeth bite into the swollen tissue, further exacerbating the painful condition.
4. If they partially erupt, deep periodontal pockets sometimes develop on the distal (far side) of the healthy second molar teeth, or even worse, cause the second molar to decay or potentially even abscess. Dr. Newby has had cases where a second molar is so damaged by a retained wisdom tooth that is too long that the patient ends up losing the second molar and the wisdom tooth.
5. If they fully erupt it may be too difficult to keep them clean, requiring restorations such as fillings or crowns. If they require extraction later, the tooth may break, requiring removal in many sectioned pieces (a much more difficult extraction than one in which the tooth was extracted before).
There is the rare instance in which an individual has enough room for the wisdom teeth and is able to keep them and the surrounding tissue healthy.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
A general answer is in the mid to late teens or early twenties. Many times at this age the bone is not as dense as it will be later and also the roots of the wisdom teeth may only partially be formed, leading to an easier extraction.