People are prone to have more issues with wisdom teeth than any other teeth. And while some people have no problems with their wisdom teeth, many will experience sensitivity and pain. In some cases, the longer wisdom teeth remain in the mouth, the more problems they cause. For example, wisdom teeth can damage other teeth or become impacted. If these complications occur, they will need to be removed.
Continue reading to learn more about when wisdom teeth should be removed.
WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars to develop in the back of the mouth. Molars are the wide flat teeth in the back of the mouth used for grinding food. There are four wisdom teeth — two on the top of your mouth and two on the bottom.
Wisdom teeth often emerge between the ages of 17 and 21. Therefore, the term “wisdom” refers to the fact that you are essentially wiser when these teeth come in!
DOES EVERYONE GET THEIR WISDOM TEETH?
No, not everyone gets their wisdom teeth. A study from the Dental Research Journal estimates that five to 37 percent of people do not have one or more wisdom teeth. The reason is unknown, but it could be related to genetics. There is no dental risk if you never develop your third molars.
However, just because you do not experience pain or see them, keep in mind that your wisdom teeth may still be there. The molars could be stuck or impacted. Impacted means your tooth is trapped in your jaw or under your gums. Your dentist will use an X-ray to determine if your wisdom teeth are there or not.
WHAT ARE SOME DENTAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH WISDOM TEETH?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental problems often associated with wisdom teeth include:
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
If you are experiencing any of these issues, your dentist will probably recommend that an oral surgeon remove your wisdom teeth. In the situation of a dental emergency, please contact your dentist immediately.
WHEN SHOULD WISDOM TEETH BE REMOVED?
Your dentist can help you decide if wisdom teeth removal is a suitable option for you. Some people never have problems with their wisdom teeth. Others wait until they experience pain to have them extracted. And some choose to have them removed early to avoid possible complications in the future. Remember, there are always risks associated with any surgery, so if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to discuss them with your dentist and your oral surgeon.
If your wisdom teeth have not yet been removed, the ADA states that your dentist will monitor your mouth for any signs of the following complications:
- Improper position: Can cause food to become trapped, giving bacteria a place to grow. Potentially can cause cavities.
- Came through incorrectly: Can make it difficult to floss.
- Partially through: Can give bacteria a place to enter the gums and possibly cause an infection.
- No room to come through: Can crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
- Impacted: Can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. Cysts can damage the roots of teeth nearby or destroy the bone that holds your teeth.
HOW TO CARE FOR WISDOM TEETH
If you keep your wisdom teeth, brush and floss them regularly and visit the dentist at least two times each year. Preventive visits allow your dentist to monitor your wisdom teeth any potential problems that develop over time. According to the ADA, as people age, they are at an increased risk for additional health problems; those health problems include possible complications from wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is also more difficult later in life, as older adults take longer to heal than teenagers do, for example. Again, it is best to consult with your dentist about your unique situation to see if wisdom teeth removal is the right decision for you.
VISIT YOUR DENTIST | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
While we do not perform wisdom teeth extractions, our dentists at The Landing Dental Spa can monitor and evaluate your wisdom teeth. Our dentists will also recommend the best options for you and refer you to an oral surgeon if necessary. If you are having trouble with your wisdom teeth or have any questions about wisdom teeth removal, give us a call at 304-594-2200 or fill out our online contact form. In the case of a dental emergency, please call our office right away!