A common part of many people's childhood, wisdom tooth extractions are almost like a rite of passage for teenagers. The wisdom teeth sit at the back of the mouth and can greatly help with chewing. While a common procedure, it is associated with pain and something that many people dread. However, wisdom tooth extractions can…
Wisdom Teeth: Should They Be Removed?
While there are times when wisdom teeth grow in correctly and do not cause any oral health or cosmetic concerns, sometimes wisdom teeth grow in incorrectly. If wisdom teeth that grow in incorrectly begin to cause oral health concerns or have the potential to do so, they may need to be surgically removed.
When wisdom teeth should be removed
Many avoid the task of having their wisdom teeth out of fear of enduring the surgical procedure to remove them. However, there are times when wisdom teeth need to be removed. Below we will review a few scenarios in which it is likely wisdom teeth need to be surgically removed.
Teeth alignment issues
One of the most common reasons wisdom teeth need removal is that they are causing alignment issues with the other teeth. When wisdom teeth grow in incorrectly, they can place pressure upon other teeth, causing them all to shift — not just the ones closest to the wisdom teeth like you may assume. When this occurs, it can create the need for braces or cause misalignment of teeth that have already undergone a straightening procedure, which is know as orthodontic relapse.
Pain and swelling
It is normal for wisdom teeth coming through to cause some pain and perhaps even a little swelling of the gums. However, there are times when wisdom teeth can lead to a significant amount of pain and swelling, which lead to other, much larger oral health issues. In some instances when wisdom teeth grow in incorrectly, the pain and swelling may not go away without wisdom teeth extraction.
Increased risk of cavities
Wisdom teeth can also increase the risk of cavities if they grow in incorrectly. When wisdom teeth come in, it can place pressure on other teeth and cause the gums to swell, which may make it harder to properly clean certain areas of the teeth.
Additionally, there may be an increased risk of developing an oral infection due to the gum swelling often caused by wisdom teeth coming through incorrectly, which is why it is important to have a dentist monitor and check the status of wisdom teeth.
It is not uncommon for cysts to develop around new teeth, especially wisdom teeth. When cysts form, they can cause serious jaw complications if they are not properly dealt with in a timely manner. In some cases, untreated oral cysts can hollow out the jaw and damage nerves. In particular, wisdom teeth that come through improperly can cause an increased risk of the individual developing cysts that could lead to jaw complications.
The bottom line
By taking a dental X-ray of wisdom teeth, dentists can determine whether wisdom teeth are going to grow in incorrectly before any damage occurs. In order to ensure wisdom teeth do not cause any cosmetic or oral health concerns, talk to a dentist about the status of your wisdom teeth.
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