Wisdom teeth. They have such a fancy name, yet can cause so much trouble. However, while they may cause discomfort in some people, they are perfectly fine (and even helpful) to others.
So how do you know whether you should have them removed or continue on your merry way with your wisdom teeth as lifelong companions? To make the decision-making process easier for you, below is an overview of what they are and how to know whether you’d be better off having them removed.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are molars. They are some of the teeth with the wide surface in the back of your mouth; the ones you use for chewing. What differentiates them from the rest of your molars is that they grow out later in life (late teens, early adulthood). For most people, wisdom teeth will “break through” around age 21.
Humans have 12 molars in total (three on each side on the top of your mouth, and three on each side on the bottom). Wisdom teeth are the ones in the very back.
3 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need to be Pulled
1. Your Wisdom Teeth are Coming Out at an Angle | Slanted Wisdom Teeth
Sometimes, there isn’t enough space in the mouth for wisdom teeth to fully come through. As a result, they’ll come out slanted. When this happens, they are called impacted wisdom teeth. Although sometimes they don’t cause pain or swelling, they may be difficult to clean, which could cause gum disease.
If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, monitor it to see if the gums around it swell, or if you develop any cysts.
2. Wisdom Teeth Only Came Out Partially
When molars only come out partially, they leave the area susceptible for bacteria growth. As a result, people with this condition tend to experience jaw pain and swelling. It also creates a prime environment for an infection called pericoronitis (discussed below).
3. Wisdom Teeth Aren’t Aligned
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they make it extremely difficult to floss. It creates a perfect environment for food particles to become “lost” somewhere along the ridges of the molar, increasing the chance of developing gum disease.
Why Does my Wisdom Tooth Keep Swelling?
What swells is the area around the tooth, and it occurs due to one of the conditions mentioned above. This is more common if the wisdom tooth is only partially out, as this leads to developing pericoronitis, which is an infection due to bacteria in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth.
Left untreated, pericoronitis can extend to other areas of the body, such as the head and neck. Signs of this condition include:
– Severe pain around the tooth
– Pain when swallowing
– Bad taste in mouth
Treatment includes draining discharge, removing excess gum tissue, and extracting the wisdom tooth.
Despite all of the complications that can occur due to wisdom teeth, sometimes they grow in a normal position, with plenty of room, and align well with the existing teeth. When this occurs, there’s no reason to remove them.
If Your Wisdom Teeth are Causing You Pain, Contact Impeccable Smiles to Have Them Removed
At Impeccable Smiles, we understand that visiting the dentist can make you anxious. However, our top priorities include making our patients feel welcome and comfortable.
Contact us and let us help you take care of your oral health.