The wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that usually grow in when people are a little older, between the ages of 17 and 21. They are located in the very back of the mouth.
Some people have no problems with their wisdom teeth. Often, however, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow in properly. They might crowd other teeth, grow in crooked, grow in only partially or never erupt from the gums at all. As a result, wisdom teeth can cause several oral health problems for young adults.
Around the age wisdom teeth start coming in, your dentist might use an X-ray to determine whether they’re likely to cause problems. If your wisdom teeth are causing discomfort or negatively impacting your oral health, they will usually need to get removed by a dentist or oral surgeon. This removal procedure is called wisdom teeth extraction.
Though it’s natural to want to avoid having surgery, sometimes wisdom teeth removal is necessary. Here are four signs you may need your wisdom teeth removed:
1. Your Wisdom Teeth Come in Crooked
If there’s not enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to come in naturally, they may grow in crooked. When this happens, the emerging teeth may push around other teeth and even damage them in the process. If your wisdom teeth are growing in crooked — or if an X-ray shows they’re likely to grow in crooked — your dentist may recommend wisdom teeth extraction to prevent potential problems.
2. Your Wisdom Teeth Are Hard to Clean
Another reason you may need your wisdom teeth removed is if they prevent you from maintaining good oral health. Crowding can make cleaning around wisdom teeth difficult, and insufficient cleaning can lead to cavities and infection. Furthermore, if a wisdom tooth only has room to grow in partially, it may be more susceptible to cavities and gum infection. This is because it’s easier for bacteria to get trapped between the tooth and the gums when the tooth has only partially emerged.
3. You Notice a Cyst Developing Around the Tooth
Sometimes, a cyst can grow around an impacted wisdom tooth. These sacs hold liquid and can damage the jawbone, teeth and nerves if left untreated. Occasionally, they may also develop into tumors which require surgery to remove. The appearance of a cyst is a strong sign you may need your wisdom teeth taken out.
4. You’re Experiencing Pain or Discomfort
Even wisdom teeth that don’t emerge from the gums, called impacted teeth, can cause complications. If you’re experiencing any of the following wisdom teeth symptoms, you may need them removed:
- Sore, swollen or bleeding gums
- Jaw pain or swelling
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty opening your mouth
A dentist can help you figure out whether impacted wisdom teeth are causing your symptoms and what the best course of action might be.
Reach out to Dental Choice
If you’re worried about uncomfortable wisdom teeth symptoms, visiting a dentist could put your mind at ease. It could also be the first step toward getting the care you want, whether that’s wisdom teeth extraction or something else. At Dental Choice, we strive to make compassionate patient care our top priority. Reach out to one of our Calgary or Edmonton locations or request an appointment online today.