Also known as your third molars, wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 16 and 25. While it is possible to experience no issues with these molars, most individuals suffer one or more related complications. For the most part, problems occur when a tooth becomes impacted, which means it is either fully or partially covered by the gums or bone. A dental specialist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can explain further, but here is some helpful information to give you a better understanding of your wisdom teeth.
THE IMPACT OF IMPACTED TEETH
To fully understand the benefits of wisdom teeth removal, it helps to first understand the problems they can cause. Wisdom teeth that are painless and seemingly unobtrusive are easy to ignore, but even asymptomatic molars can wreak havoc on your gums and lead to periodontal disease. The following side effects are just a few of the common complications associated with impacted teeth.
- Pain in the jaw
- Swelling in the jaw
- Inflamed and irritated gums
- Bleeding gums
- Foul-smelling breath
- Damage to surrounding structures
- Loss of gums and/or bone
FIVE REASONS WHY YOU NEED YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED:
In addition to the above-mentioned list of complications, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to more serious problems and diseases. While there are numerous arguments for the benefits of wisdom tooth extraction, here are the top five reasons to help you make an informed decision.
1. Inflammation and infection. Due to a combination of limited space and partial impactions, wisdom teeth often lead to gum inflammation, which can lead to painful gum disease or other health hazards. Recent studies show that once inflammation sets in, it’s very difficult to alleviate it, and it easily spreads to surrounding areas. In addition, when a tooth is partially impacted, a separation between it and the gums creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which dramatically increases the risk of infection.
2. Overcrowding. When wisdom teeth erupt, they try to enter an already crowded area. With little room to move into, neighboring teeth are often pushed aside, resulting in misalignment. Whether your beautiful smile is thanks to braces or genetics, wisdom teeth can undo a straight smile as well as completely unravel years of dental work.
3. Damage to nearby teeth. While overcrowding is likely, wisdom teeth can do more to their neighbors than simply invade their space. In fact, they can damage the adjacent second molars by contributing to bone loss and cavities.
4. Cysts or tumors. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to tiny tumors or cysts in the jawbone, which can lead to joint pain that would require the assistance of a TMJ specialist and a variety of TMJ treatment options that you would rather avoid.
5. Difficult to keep clean. If you experience no pain or obvious complications with the arrival of your wisdom teeth, your future dental hygiene may still be at risk. More than likely, space is at a minimum, and it can be difficult to properly brush and floss around a wisdom tooth. Limited space and their hard-to-reach location make these teeth prime targets for cavities and plaque buildup.
While many individuals accommodate these teeth with no discomfort or issues, others experience complications that intensify with age. Without extraction, you may experience recurrent infections and pain that require extensive treatment options, medications and more. For peace of mind, speaking with your primary dental practitioner, a wisdom tooth specialist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can address any concerns you may have.