November 29 2021
Written by Dr. Justin Seaman
We often have patients come into the office for a consultation regarding their wisdom teeth who cannot understand why their wisdom teeth need to be removed if they are not hurting or creating noticeable problems.
Not All Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed.
If the tooth is fully erupted into functional position or occlusion without causing any issues with the surrounding structures, it is ideal to retain it. However, infection may arise if the wisdom tooth is impacted or malpositioned. If infection is present even if it is not causing any symptoms, removal may be the best solution.
From our experience, we have examined many individuals who have pathology without symptoms or a problem without the alarms going off. We commonly see decayed teeth and periodontal disease associated with malpositioned teeth.
When teeth are not properly positioned, cleansing is more difficult thus leading to increased food retention and ultimately resulting in irreversible problems. The best case scenario is that the pathology is limited only to your wisdom teeth. However, we frequently have to treat problems on 2nd molars that were caused by over-retained non-functional wisdom teeth. The time, inconveniences, and costs of having a 2nd molar replaced because it was damaged by a malpositioned or impacted wisdom tooth is easily avoidable.
Consequences of Not Getting Impacted Wisdom Teeth Removed
Frequently we see early indicators of potentially bigger issues. Impacted and partially erupted teeth can create areas of deeper pockets in the gums. These pockets often collect oral debris which can be the nidus for localized inflammation, colonization of microbes, and localized infection. When the body keys up an immune response, typically we will notice some or all of the four classic signs of inflammation:
- Pain or tenderness (dolor)
- Redness (rubor)
- Swelling (tumor)
Recurrent or prolonged infections may cause permanent loss of hard and soft tissue as well as be a significant immunological burden on your overall health and wellness. Think of the human body as one long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the butthole; infections and their noxious byproducts are passed through the saliva into the digestive track and through the body. They are also transported through the blood, especially after eating or oral cleansing. Because all body’s systems are interconnected, untreated oral infections can cause diseases on other parts of the body.
We have known for decades that oral infections directly influence and worsen many systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, types of pneumonia. Links between mothers with periodontal disease and children with low birth weight are also well known. Research is continuing to uncover more and more connections between oral and systemic health every year.
At Lighthouse Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery we understand that every person is unique. For us to provide the most comprehensive and individualized care, we take our time to perform an appropriate history and physical exam that helps us understand your situation. After collecting all of the relevant data points, we then distill down the information into understandable explanations so each person can make an educated decision regarding their care.
To schedule a consultation with us, contact our office in Houston at (713) 790-1995.