If you are a young adult and your dentist has recommended removing your wisdom teeth, you may be wondering what that means and if it is a necessary procedure.
The third row of molars at the very back of your mouth are known as wisdom teeth. These teeth are fine to leave in if they meet these requirements:
- Fully grown and healthy
- Properly aligned with the opposing teeth
- Easily cleaned with a toothbrush
Since they are some of the last teeth to grow in, there may not be enough room for them to fit properly. This means the teeth may come in at an angle, crooked, or even become impacted. Some problems that occur with wisdom teeth:
- Impacted – May not fully erupt from the gums. If they do not have enough room to grow, they can become impacted which is painful. It can also cause an infection in the gum pockets that can damage the roots of the tooth.
- Difficult to Clean – A tooth that only partially shows through the gums cannot be cleaned properly. Food particles that get stuck around the tooth can cause tooth decay and gum disease if not properly taken care of.
- Crowding of other teeth – Teeth that are too big and do not have enough room to grow may crowd the neighboring teeth causing damage or shifting of the tooth in front.
Often a dentist will suggest extracting wisdom teeth if they are not completely grown in. If they haven’t fully erupted from the gums they will be difficult to keep clean and may harbor bacteria. Sometimes the dentist will recommend having them removed when the patient is younger before the teeth can cause any problems.
According to recommendations from the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth may need extraction if you experience any of the following conditions:
- Severe tooth decay
- Damage to the adjacent teeth
- Frequent infection of soft tissue
- Fluid-filled sacs or cysts around the gums
- Periodontal disease
If your dentist has recommended that you or a loved one get wisdom teeth extracted, it would be wise to follow that advice. Not doing so can lead to oral health issues that can become more serious over time. Contact us to learn more.