Problematic wisdom teeth can affect everyone — even people who have never had a cavity before in their lives may need to have them extracted. The wisdom teeth are the third molars that often erupt in the teenage/early adult years. Not everyone has problems with their wisdom teeth, though. Why is that? It has to do with the size of your mouth and the position of the teeth. Keep reading to find out more about why.
Should They Stay or Should They Go?
Ancient humans used to need an extra set of molars due to poor oral hygiene and a rough, tough diet that resulted in tooth loss. But today, most wisdom teeth are problematic because our mouths just aren’t big enough to support them. Some lucky people have big mouths with plenty of room for the wisdom teeth to erupt without issue, but even if the molars do come through successfully, your dentist will want to make sure that they aren’t pressing up against your other teeth and causing your entire bite to move out of alignment.
Other people may never need to have to have wisdom teeth removed because the molars simply are not present beneath the gum line, or they never erupt at all. A dentist may recommend screening teenage patients to check for the presence of wisdom teeth.
What Can Go Wrong
While some people can keep their wisdom teeth forever, most people who have them will need to visit their oral surgeons for extraction. When there is not enough room for the teeth in the gum line, they may grow in crooked or sideways. Impaction, or infection, is likely to occur.
Some common problems that can crop up with wisdom teeth include:
- They push against the surrounding molars and shift them out of alignment.
- The molars become decayed because they’re hard to clean.
- The gum tissue is infected.
- Infection spreads from the gums throughout the body.
How to Keep Wisdom Teeth Healthy
Your dentist may decide it’s ok to keep your wisdom teeth in your mouth as long as they aren’t causing issues. They’ll talk to you about maintaining excellent oral hygiene, as it is crucial for you to prevent infection-causing bacteria from building up around the extra molars to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and make sure you are reaching your toothbrush far into the back of your mouth. Be sure to floss around the wisdom teeth, including rubbing the dental floss behind the surface of the very last tooth. Attend regular six month visits with your dentist, who will continue to monitor the wisdom teeth. X-Rays allow a dentist to catch potential issues that may not be visible with the naked eye.
Questions? Contact Us Today!
If you are unsure whether your own or a loved one’s wisdom teeth should stay or be extracted, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss wisdom teeth removal. Request an appointment at Piney Point Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today!