Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge, typically between 15 and 20 years of age. While not every patient needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, it is recommended for a large majority of teens and young adults. This is because wisdom teeth are known for causing more harm than good. Since they don’t offer significant functional benefit, many people choose to avoid the risks and have these back molars extracted.
Lack of jaw space is a primary reason for wisdom teeth troubles. They struggle to follow a normal growth pattern and often emerge in an unhealthy pattern. It is possible to have wisdom teeth that only partially erupt or fail to erupt through the gum line altogether. This can lead to impaction, which can be painful as well as threatening to your oral health.
It is very possible to have problematic wisdom teeth that don’t produce symptoms. Therefore, it becomes imperative that you let a dentist evaluate you and determine your candidacy for wisdom teeth removal. Through an oral exam and panoramic imaging, a dentist will tell you if the following is already present or likely to occur:
If a tooth fails to fully erupt above the gum line, there is a high risk for infection or decay. A partially erupted wisdom tooth provides an easy place for food and bacteria to get stuck. It can be nearly impossible to keep this area clean. Patients may experience tenderness, pain and swelling as warning signs that the tooth needs to be extracted.
It may be that your wisdom teeth actually followed a healthy eruption pattern and came through the gum line straight. However, the location of these back molars alone makes them susceptible to decay. It takes extra effort to ensure the wisdom teeth get brushed and cleaned well each day. Therefore, another reason for wisdom teeth removal is repeated cavities. Rather than spending money on multiple fillings, it may be better to just remove the third set of molars.
Impacted wisdom teeth are the most threatening situation to your oral health. This occurs when the tooth never erupts, and may even grow in sideways underneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth put excessive pressure on neighboring teeth and can also compromise your jaw health. Shifting teeth, painful jaw cysts and even nerve damage can develop from impaction.
Few patients like the idea of getting their teeth pulled. However, it is a minor sacrifice to protect your future smile health. At Grateful Dental, we perform wisdom teeth removal using sedation dentistry, which means your discomfort is greatly minimized during the procedure. In most cases, patients fully recover in just a few short days. Have more questions about your wisdom teeth? Schedule your appointment at Dr. Porcaro today.