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Wisdom Teeth – Potential Problems

From birth, your mouth encounters many changes. These changes start at the breaking through of your first tooth in your first year of life and continue with the loss of baby teeth and the growth of permanent, or adult, teeth throughout childhood. The last teeth to emerge from your gum line are known as wisdom teeth, or third molars. In regard to their time of appearance, wisdom teeth stand in a category all by themselves. They do not emerge in one’s mouth until later in adolescence, typically between the ages of 17-21 and are often recommended for removal. However, all people, and their teeth, are different, so the growth of your wisdom teeth should be monitored by our office to determine if and when the molars should be removed.

Due to many factors, wisdom teeth are often recommended for removal either before or after they emerge at the gum line, as they can be accompanied with many potential issues. We want to help you understand more about the potential problems with these late-breaking molars and what you should do about them. Here are the most common causes for removal of wisdom teeth:

1 – Improper or Incorrect Growth

Before these third molars come in, there are 28 teeth present in one’s mouth. After these teeth break through, there are 32 teeth. Some people’s mouths simply do not have the space for these teeth and, as a result, the teeth come in improperly or incorrectly due to crowding or other issues. The impaction of these teeth can cause pain and damage to other teeth.Especially when orthodontic or other dental care is involved, if we identify this is a likely scenario, we will recommend removal of these teeth before they cause problems in the mouth.

2 – Pain and/or Infection

Sometimes the emergence of these wisdom teeth can cause pain and/or infection. When wisdom teeth erupt partially through the gums, this site serves as a breeding ground for bacteria that can eventually turn into a painful infection. Their presence increases the potential of trapped food and difficulty flossing, which leads to development of bacteria and eventually harmful cavities in the back of the mouth.

3 – Inflamed Gums

When wisdom teeth emerge, it is common for a flap of gum tissue to form, causing food and bacteria to get trapped near the gum line. This tissue can become inflamed and eventually lead to gum disease. Due to the placement and likelihood of crowding of these teeth, it can be more challenging to address this effectively to prevent these issues. In this scenario, removal of these teeth is seen as the best option for the overall health of your mouth.

4 – Tooth Decay

Simply due to the fact that wisdom teeth may be harder to reach with a toothbrush, they are more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay.

Here’s the good news: Some people live with their wisdom teeth their entire lives. If you do not experience any problems with your wisdom teeth, we do not recommend their removal. When these teeth come in correctly, they can aid in chewing and can remain healthy with the proper care (brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits) even in light of these potential obstacles. If you still have your wisdom teeth and do not experience any problems, you should not worry about having them removed. Instead, simply take particular care of these teeth and see our office regularly so we can help you monitor these teeth and your overall dental health.

We at River Valley Smiles care about every stage of your mouth and its development. If you have any concerns about potential wisdom teeth or any other dental question, please call our office so we can help you get on the right track towards the healthiest mouth possible.

River Valley Smiles