What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars. They are called wisdom teeth because they come in much later than most other adult teeth.
Because wisdom teeth come in so late for most people (when you’re 16-23 years old), there often isn’t enough room for them to properly grow in alongside all of your other teeth. In fact, 85% of adults have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Why do wisdom teeth cause problems?
Wisdom teeth can cause problems for at least two reasons:
- First, they are difficult to keep clean. Without proper hygiene, cavities and gum disease can develop around them.
- Second, the presence of wisdom teeth can cause crowding of your other teeth, making it harder to clean between them. This is what causes many people to have their wisdom teeth removed.
Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing you any pain or discomfort right now, it may still be a good idea to get them removed to avoid any problems in the months or years ahead.
Do you need to have your wisdom teeth removed?
Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? The answer to that question is not simple. If you’re in your teens and a dentist says you should have your wisdom teeth taken out, they are likely considering whether they will cause problems in the future. If it’s a case of “if those teeth erupt, they will crowd the other teeth and cause pain,” then it’s probably necessary to have them removed.
But if there’s no immediate sign of trouble or infection happening now or on the horizon — just a concern about future issues—you might be able to put things off for now.
What happens if you don’t have your wisdom teeth removed?
If you’re one of the lucky ones, no worries. But there are some possible risks if you decide to keep your wisdom teeth or have them removed later in life:
- Infection in the gums or jawbone can occur. This is called pericoronitis.
- Wisdom teeth may push against your other teeth and move them out of line (called malocclusion). This might require orthodontic treatment.
- If cavities develop on the backside of your second molars because they are difficult to clean, you might need a root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
What’s the link between wisdom teeth and gum disease?
There’s a strong link between impacted wisdom teeth, and dental issues like periodontitis (gum disease) and tooth decay.
When wisdom teeth become impacted (unable to grow through the gums or fully erupt from the mouth), the bacteria that causes tooth decay and periodontitis can build up around the gum line. This is because bacterial plaque is easily able to settle in hard-to-reach areas, such as the edges of an impacted molar.
If you don’t get your wisdom teeth removed, food and other debris can become trapped in these pockets, causing further damage to your gums over time. The bacteria can also spread into surrounding teeth via your saliva, potentially leading to more cavities.
Is it always necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth?
You might have read that a majority of wisdom teeth are never removed.
Studies show that over 50 percent of adults could benefit from having their wisdom teeth taken out. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to take your impacted wisdom teeth out just because they’re impacted. But if they cause you any pain whatsoever, it’s probably time to consider taking them out.
Are there any complications associated with getting your wisdom teeth out?
For those who haven’t had a wisdom tooth extracted yet, that’s probably because they’re afraid of complications. In reality, there are very few known complications that come along with having your wisdom teeth removed.
The majority of patients don’t have much trouble with swelling, bruising, or bleeding. If you do experience severe pain or swelling after your surgery, it’s best to call your doctor immediately so they can look you over and determine what could be causing it. If the condition is getting worse (bleeding gums or an infection), then seeing your doctor right away will help prevent other serious complications from occurring.
Your dentist can help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to get your wisdom teeth out
If you’re like most people, a visit to the dentist is enough to make your cheeks flush and your heart start to race. But don’t worry: our friendly staff will do everything possible to put you at ease. We’ll make sure that each step of the process is explained clearly so you can make an informed decision. We’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have along the way.
We want you to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible! Call us at (786) 629-1503 or reach out to us online to book your appointment today!