Wisdom teeth can be quite fickle. For some people, they don’t cause any problems. For others, wisdom teeth can be such a burden they must be removed.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth. They usually come in when a person is between ages 17 and 21 – or, as the wives tale reads, old enough for people to have gained some “wisdom.”
What Causes Wisdom Teeth Problems?
Wisdom teeth that are healthy and properly positioned do not cause problems. However, several factors can lead to painful problems.
First, wisdom teeth may break partway through the gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them where food can become trapped and a gum infection can develop.
Wisdom teeth can also grow in crooked or facing the wrong direction.
If your jaw is not large enough to give them room, wisdom teeth may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
Finally, people may have trouble properly brushing and flossing around wisdom teeth because they are so far in the back of the mouth. This can cause problems like tooth decay and cavities.
Signs of Wisdom Teeth Problems
Call my office immediately if you experience:
- Pain or jaw stiffness.
- Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of the mouth.
- An infected swelling in gum tissue.
- Sudden crowding of other teeth.
I can examine your teeth and gums for signs of a wisdom tooth coming through, or potential wisdom teeth problems in the future. The most common treatment for these types of problems is removal (extraction) of the wisdom tooth or teeth. This is an easy procedure that is done routinely in my office.
If you think you’re experiencing problems with your wisdom teeth, talk to me about it immediately. When it comes to your teeth, it’s always better to deal with a potential problem sooner rather than later.