Since most dentist practices are not open for routine checkups and elective procedures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to protect your teeth and reduce the risk of oral health complications that result in the need for emergency dentistry. By keeping teeth protected, patients can better ensure that they keep good oral health…
What Happens if I Wait on a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
A wisdom tooth extraction is something that many patients prefer to postpone. After all, if the third molars are asymptomatic, many patients may feel that it is unnecessary to proceed with dental surgery. However, waiting to have wisdom teeth extracted can cause problems for the patient's other teeth as well as the patient's overall oral health. When an oral surgeon recommends extraction of third molars, patients should be encouraged to proceed with treatment as soon as possible due to the problems that can arise with retained wisdom teeth.
Possible outcomes of delaying wisdom tooth extraction
Because of the position of the third molars in the mouth, early treatment is often needed to prevent potential problems for the patient. Possible consequences include crowded teeth, the development of decay on other molars and cysts around impacted wisdom teeth.
Crowding of other teeth
When erupting, wisdom teeth cause pressure in the jaws. This pressure can cause teeth to shift and become more crowded. This is often evident on the lower front teeth, and this crowding can continue until wisdom tooth extraction occurs. Many patients who had straight teeth before third molar eruption may need orthodontic treatment if extraction does not occur in a specific window of time. The change in the alignment of teeth is gradual but is often not noticeable until orthodontics are necessary.
Decay arising on adjacent molars
When wisdom teeth have partially erupted, the tissue covering the unerupted portion of the tooth creates a trap for plaque and cavity-forming bacteria. Because these teeth are so far back and difficult to clean around, the plaque may remain for an extended period of time and can cause the breakdown of the enamel of adjacent second molars. This can require restorative treatment for the second molars after the wisdom teeth are extracted. If the wisdom teeth are pulled in a timely manner, the patient can more easily care for the second molars because they are no longer blocked by the extra teeth and inflamed tissue.
Cysts forming around impacted wisdom teeth
One of the more serious conditions that can arise when third molar extractions are delayed is cyst formation. Odontogenic cysts are sacs that form around unerupted teeth and can be found around wisdom teeth that are unable to erupt. Although these cysts are often treatable, it can make extractions more difficult and could potentially pose problems for the patient's jaw health if left untreated. Pain, swelling or knots in the area of the wisdom teeth can be a sign that a cyst is forming and should be evaluated by an oral surgeon. Cyst formation is a condition that must be monitored closely before and after extractions.
Dental surgery can be an anxiety-producing experience for many patients, but delaying treatment due to fear can have consequences for the patient's oral health. If a surgeon sees the need for wisdom tooth extraction, patients should seek treatment sooner rather than later. This can help prevent aesthetic issues and promote better outcomes for the jaws and other teeth in the mouth.
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