What are Wisdom Teeth?
With age comes wisdom. Specifically, wisdom teeth.
Your mouth goes through many changes in your lifetime. One major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age.
When they come through correctly, healthy wisdom teeth can help you chew. It’s normal to feel a little discomfort when these teeth appear, but if you have pain, see your SEDA dentist immediately.
Room to Grow?
Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your SEDA dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.
As your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your SEDA dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following:
- Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position can allow food to become trapped. That gives cavity-causing bacteria a place to grow and may lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
- That haven’t come in properly, which can make it difficult to floss between the teeth and the molars next to them.
- That don’t have room to come through are thought by some to crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
- A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
When Do I Need to Have Them Removed?
While oral surgery may sound scary, having your wisdom tooth (or teeth) pulled can often be a better experience than not doing so when you consider the pain associated with wisdom tooth problems.
However, many people have no problems when their wisdom teeth erupt and don’t need to have them pulled. Even so, many dental professionals will recommend having them pulled if you experience the following scenarios:
- Your wisdom teeth don’t fit in your mouth. Most of us have room for about 28 teeth, which is the number of teeth you have before your new teeth erupt. When you add your four wisdom teeth, you have 32 teeth all trying to fit into the confined amount of space available in your jaw. When the jaw isn’t large enough, the teeth can become impacted, which means they are either unable to fully erupt or they become misaligned. In this case, having your newly arrived teeth pulled will ensure all your teeth have ample room.
- You experience chronic pain in your gums near your wisdom teeth. This pain can be a sign of infection that can occur from a partially erupted wisdom tooth. When food and bacteria get trapped in these areas, it can lead to a very painful infection known as pericoronitis. (Having your teeth pulled in this case will prevent further infection.)
- Your wisdom teeth don’t come in straight. If your wisdom teeth come in fully, but come in sideways, they can cause your teeth to shift and move over time. There is also a chance that the poorly aligned teeth can damage other nearby teeth. Once you have your wisdom teeth pulled, your nearby teeth will be protected from damage.
- A cyst forms around the tooth. This occurs when the sac next to the tooth becomes filled with fluid. When this occurs, it can destroy the surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots. In rare cases, an untreated cyst can lead to a tumor that may require a more serious surgical procedure
- Bottom line, consult with your SEDA dentist to determine the best course of treatment concerning your troublesome wisdom teeth.