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Why do I need tooth removal and extraction of my impacted tooth?

Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way from the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.

Extraction of wisdom teeth is generally recommended when:
  • Wisdom teeth only partially erupt. This leaves an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection. Pain, swelling, jaw stiffness and general illness can result.
  • There is a chance that poorly aligned wisdom teeth will damage adjacent teeth.
  • A cyst (fluid-filled sac) forms, destroying surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.
Ask your dentist about the health and positioning of your wisdom teeth. The dentist may make a recommendation for removal or send you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation.
If your dentist told you that you need to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed and extracted, it means that your tooth is not coming in properly and, as a result, is starting to cause problems. Impacted wisdom teeth can grow in sideways towards the tooth next to it or towards the back of the mouth, it can grow parallel to the jawbone, or it can grow straight, but never come up out of the jawbone. How your wisdom tooth is coming in may be affecting your other teeth -- it could be pushing them together or damaging them in some other way. Additionally, since the wisdom tooth is more difficult to clean, it is more vulnerable to cavities and infection. Your dentist wants to remove this tooth to avoid any further damage to your other teeth.
Stephen P. Simpson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Impacted teeth can cause a variety of potential problems. They may become cystic and create large swollen areas or voids within the bone of the respective jaw. They may also affect adjacent teeth, either by creating pressure on a tooth in contact, or by damaging the root surface of a tooth in close proximity. Removing an impacted tooth is generally advisable as soon as the tooth is determined to be definitively impacted.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.