What it means to have your wisdom teeth removed
Aptly named, wisdom teeth typically arrive with a young person’s newfound wisdom and approaching adulthood. These extra molars appear behind the first two sets of molars and the other 20 teeth that your mouth was designed to hold. With 28 teeth already in place, it’s often difficult for an additional four wisdom teeth to grow in properly.
When teeth try to push through the gums but cannot, they remain impacted—fully or partially covered by gum or bone—which has the potential to cause a variety of complications. And 90% of people have at least one impacted tooth. Impacted teeth can lead to:
- Inflamed/irritated/bleeding gums
- Jaw pain/swelling
- Bad breath
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Loss of bone/gums
For some, wisdom teeth don’t initially seem problematic. What’s important to understand is the potential they have in wreaking havoc in your mouth before you realize it. Although not everyone has wisdom teeth, most people do, and most need them removed. Here’s why.
Overcrowding and Misalignment
When wisdom teeth appear on the scene, there’s little room left for them, so as they erupt, they push adjacent teeth aside. This is the reason orthodontists recommend having your wisdom teeth removed as soon as you get your braces off. Wisdom teeth have the capacity to derail all those years of orthodontic treatment as they squeeze their way in.
While overcrowding may be reason enough to remove these pesky third molars, the truth is they can do more that mess up your straight smile. As they move in, they may be responsible for bone loss and spreading tooth decay to their neighboring second molar as well.
Unfortunately, gums often get caught in the crossfire when wisdom teeth battle their way in. When there’s limited room and they can’t fully erupt, the wisdom teeth can cause the gums to become inflamed, an issue that is hard to reverse. As the partially impacted tooth pulls away from the gums, a space is created that is vulnerable to bacteria and infection.
Jaw Health Complications
The jaw is also susceptible to serious problems when wisdom teeth only partially erupt. Wisdom teeth extractions prevent tumors and cysts from forming in the jaw. The growths can cause pain and lead to TMJ complications.
Poor Dental Hygiene
If you choose to keep your four wisdom teeth because they seem to be comfortable and complication-free, they’ll still be unusually snug. This makes brushing, flossing, and adequate cleaning quite tricky. Avoiding the small surgery required for a wisdom teeth removal isn’t worth the risk of poor dental hygiene down the road.
Having your wisdom teeth removed ensures fewer future complications, many that can intensify with age. There is so much potential for things to go poorly when wisdom teeth are left alone. Don’t risk it. Put your worries to rest and speak with Dr. Valiente, our wisdom teeth expert, about any concerns you have. Your peace of mind is worth it.