Wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) usually erupt between the age seventeen and twenty-five when young people (usually) attain more wisdom, hence the name. Some people don’t have any problems with their wisdom teeth when they come in, but others suffer complications when their teeth erupt and need intervention from a dental expert.
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are supposed to line up correctly within the gum tissue when they erupt. Problems with wisdom teeth usually happen when they are unable to come in through the gums properly and don’t have enough space to grow effectively. Instead, they can erupt sideways and only partially penetrate the gums.
Other times they come in at irregular angles or even backward. Wisdom teeth can also crowd the surrounding teeth and damage them if they don’t have enough space.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If they can’t erupt properly, wisdom teeth can also get trapped within the jaw and end up entirely hidden beneath your gums. This is known as impaction and can lead to infection or result in cysts that cause harm to the roots of the teeth or the supporting bone.
Infections and Gum Disease
If the third molars erupt only partially through your gums, they can form a gap in which bacteria can form. Because such an area is often difficult to see clearly or clean, it contributes to infection and gum disease more readily.
When to Remove Wisdom Teeth
We often prescribe extracting wisdom teeth when they don’t erupt completely. It’s generally more effective to remove them when the patient is younger. This is because the bone and roots are not completely formed in younger people and they recover more quickly following surgery. This explains why many young adults have their wisdom teeth pulled as a preventative measure before they cause problems.
If you notice significant changes in or around your wisdom teeth, we may need to remove them. Examples of changes include cysts, tumors, gum disease, damage to adjacent teeth, considerable tooth decay, continuous infection of soft tissue and pain.
Do Wisdom Teeth always need Removal?
While wisdom teeth extractions are common procedures, they are not always necessary. If these teeth are healthy, erupt all the way, line up correctly with the opposing teeth and you can clean them normally then they can likely stay in. We usually do not need to remove teeth if they erupt in an upright position provided that they don’t cause pain and aren’t tied to any gum disease or decay.
Keep in mind, however, that just because wisdom teeth come in properly, that doesn’t mean they’ll cause no problems. Because they are at the back of the mouth, they are harder to clean. If you end up keeping them, make sure you brush and floss them twice a day and come in for biannual check-ups and cleanings.
It is often difficult to determine whether to keep wisdom teeth or not. If your wisdom teeth are a concern for you, come in for a consultation, and we’ll figure out what the best solution is.
For more information, please contact our office at 817-678-7395.
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301 Trophy Branch Dr., Suite 100, Trophy Club, TX 76262