When there is not enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt, the wisdom teeth become impacted. Impacted teeth can be painful and foster infection, and in some cases, they can even lead to cysts or tumors.
A cyst forms when the normal sac (tooth follicle) surrounding an impacted tooth fills with fluid. As the cyst gets larger, it can damage other nearby structures, including the surrounding bone, teeth and gum tissue. Depending on the extent of the cyst’s involvement with those other structures, it may even become necessary to remove a portion of the jawbone or extract other teeth in addition to removing the cyst and associated wisdom tooth. In these cases, the patient may need to undergo some type of reconstructive surgery or bone graft to restore the jaw’s appearance and be sure that it continues to function properly.
If such a cyst goes untreated, a tumor can develop within its walls, and in some cases, such tumors can be malignant, requiring an even more extensive surgical resection and reconstruction regimen.
To avoid these complications, it is essential to visit a dual-degreed oral surgeon to have your wisdom teeth extracted, even if they’re not currently causing you any trouble. Research suggests that people who keep their wisdom teeth become much more likely to develop these cysts or tumors as they age.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively simple process for an experienced dual-degreed oral surgeon. It is performed with the patient under sedation. If the patient follows the prescribed post-operative regimen, the recovery process should be relatively smooth as well.
If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, consult with our Chicago oral surgery practice to plan for this procedure. It is best to have the wisdom teeth extracted between ages 17 and 25, but even older patients will clearly benefit from the procedure. Ultimately, removing the wisdom teeth can prevent adverse effects in later years and gives patients some peace of mind.