What Is a Wisdom Tooth?

In your lifetime, your mouth undergoes many changes. One of these changes is the appearance of third molars. These are mature teeth, which is why they have become known as wisdom teeth. A healthy set of wisdom teeth can improve your ability to chew food. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when your wisdom teeth emerge, but if you have pain, see your dentist right away.

Room to Grow?

It is possible for wisdom teeth to cause problems if there is not enough room for them to come through. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, they mean they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.

As your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following:

  • Wisdom teeth that aren’t positioned correctly can allow food to become trapped. That gives cavity-causing bacteria a place to grow.
  • Wisdom teeth that haven’t come in properly can make it difficult to floss between the wisdom teeth and the molars next to them.
  • Wisdom teeth that have partially come through can give bacteria a place to enter the gums and create a place for infection to occur. This may also lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have room to come through are thought by some to crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

Why You Might Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

In general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Neighboring teeth are affected
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)

Wisdom teeth extraction may also be recommended as part of braces or other dental treatment plans.

Our specialists will inspect your mouth and conduct an x-ray before making any choices. We can discuss the best treatment options together.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth?

You should continue to monitor wisdom teeth that are not removed because they could develop problems later in life. It’s important to floss around your wisdom teeth and visit your dentist regularly as you age because your health problems are more likely to occur as you age. Our team will evaluate your wisdom teeth and your overall dental health during regular dental visits.

Contact our team if you are interested in getting your wisdom teeth removed or have any other questions regarding wisdom teeth.