Oral bacteria associated with periodontal disease have been linked to more serious health problems, including coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. The “Third Molar Clinical Trials” research added a new perspective to the possible risks for young women. Periodontitis affecting retained wisdom teeth can lead to inflammation throughout the body, increasing the risk of delivering a low birth-weight infant.

Avoiding potential trouble

Third molars often push adjacent teeth out of alignment, thereby altering the bite and threatening jaw integrity. Many orthodontists refer their patients to an OMS for third molar extractions before beginning treatment to minimize the risk of gingivitis and other problems that could affect the success of the orthodontia.

In general, a young adult’s wisdom teeth have incomplete root development, making tooth removal relatively uncomplicated. As wisdom teeth continue to grow, however, the roots lengthen and may become tangled with the sensory nerves that run through the lower jaw or the sinus area.

While not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, all of them need to be managed. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide their patients the best advice based on a thorough examination, appropriate imaging and tests and discussions with the patient and family. If a decision is made to keep the wisdom teeth, patients are advised to keep the areas meticulously clean and get an annual examination to assess any changes in the teeth or gum tissues.