If a dentist recommends removing wisdom teeth, it would be unwise to delay the surgery indefinitely. To do so may invite a variety of problems including damage to adjacent structures, such as sensory nerves, the maxillary sinus, and alveolar bone. Postponed wisdom teeth removal may be more complicated and require a longer recovery period. Additionally, damage caused by wisdom teeth to adjacent teeth and structures may not be easily repaired.
Keeping the back of the mouth clean with daily brushing and flossing is difficult in the best of circumstances. When wisdom teeth are present, good oral hygiene in this area is very difficult; a situation that often leads to cavities. Research has shown that more young adults have decay in the wisdom tooth area than previously thought.
Wisdom teeth are not like other teeth in that they generally do not have adequate space to erupt. This is due not only to limited space, but also to the fact that gum tissues in the area are not designed to attach to the tooth in a normal way like other teeth. No matter how well someone maintains oral hygiene, it is very tough to keep the wisdom tooth area clean and bacteria free. Bacterial infection and inflammation often results in gum disease that can affect neighbouring teeth.
Involvement of adjacent structures
A young adult’s wisdom teeth generally have incomplete root systems, making surgery relatively uncomplicated. As wisdom teeth mature, their roots lengthen and may become involved with the surrounding structures such as sensory nerves or the maxillary sinus. In such cases, surgery may trigger a greater chance of complications.
Cyst and tumour formation
A fully impacted wisdom tooth sits in the jawbone surrounded by the sac in which teeth develop. Over time, however, this sac may enlarge and even develop unhealthy changes in the cells from which it is made. Problems occur when the sac surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. As the cyst grows it may damage the jaw, neighbouring teeth and other surrounding structures. Very rarely, tumours develop from the same tissues that surround an impacted tooth, requiring extensive surgery and reconstruction.
What if wisdom teeth are kept?
If wisdom teeth are kept despite the fact that the dentist or the maxillofacial surgeon advised to remove them, it is important to monitor their health and condition regularly. X-rays and clinical examination should be done in the area every two years. Particular care of brushing and flossing of the area should also be taken into account.
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