Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars people get generally in their teenage years or early twenties. When wisdom teeth come in, your dentist examines them to determine whether or not they need to be removed. While every mouth is different, about 5 million Americans get their wisdom teeth removed each year. Here are 5 common reasons you may need to get your wisdom teeth removed.
1. They Don’t Fit In
If your jaw doesn’t have room to hold your wisdom teeth, they may be impacted underneath your gums and unable to break through your tissue. If they do break through, they may only be able to peek above the gum line; this may lead to your gums growing over the partly exposed teeth.
2. Danger of Cavities & Gum Disease
If your wisdom teeth only partially grow out of your gums because your jaw isn’t big enough to allow the teeth to fully come in, there is a danger of developing cavities and gum disease. When wisdom teeth only grow a little bit above the gum line, the gums can begin to grow over the teeth. The flaps that grow over the teeth can harbor bacteria and food particles, providing the perfect environment for tooth decay and gum disease to occur.
3. Your Wisdom Teeth Grow in an Odd Direction
Whether it’s due to overcrowding or just the way they occur, wisdom teeth can grow in sideways or in other unnatural directions. When this occurs, the wisdom teeth can press on nerves and bone, causing pain. They can also damage surrounding teeth, by pushing them out of their correct positions.
4. Affecting Other Dental Work
If you have braces, a retainer, or any other dental devices to help with the alignment of your teeth, wisdom teeth can ruin the work that’s been accomplished by these devices or even hinder their effects. If your back molars begin to move the surrounding teeth out of the way, your alignment can be affected, along with your bite.
5. Preventative Measure
If you’ve had problems with the alignment of your teeth, it may be a good idea to take preventative action. By removing your back molars, you avoid the potential for the surrounding teeth to be shifted out of alignment. Even if you haven’t had problems with alignment, your jaw may not be able to appropriately accommodate the final row of molars.
Patients getting their wisdom teeth removed are given an anesthetic so they feel little or no pain. The dentist will give you the instructions on how to properly care for and clean the empty sockets, including the appropriate foods to eat and ways to reduce pain. It will generally take between one and two months for the empty sockets to heal, so it’s important to know and apply the appropriate care to protect yourself from dry socket.
If you want to learn more about wisdom teeth or want to set up a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas today. Our experienced staff is dedicated to providing you and your family with the best dental care.