How Do You Know When Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
So you go for what you thought was a routine cleaning, and your dentist tells you it’s time to take your wisdom teeth out. “But they don’t hurt!” you protest in an attempt to avoid the prospect of surgery. However, the absence of pain doesn’t mean there aren’t problems lurking below your gum line. The team of experts at Innovative Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, based in Feasterville, Newtown, and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, explains why. Their expertise includes one of the most common oral surgical procedures: wisdom teeth extraction.
The Healthy Mouth
If your mouth gets a clean bill of health from your dentist, then you are one of the lucky ones. Your mouth is a shining example of oral structure and hygiene. A mouth of healthy molars will be fully erupted, which means they have grown in completely, and are not stuck beneath gum tissue, or within the bone structure of your jaw. Your teeth will also be aligned into a proper “bite” pattern, lining up so the grooves fit together well. Also of importance is easy access to your teeth with cleaning tools and the existence of appropriate space for flossing.
Look for Wisdom Tooth Warning Signs
However, your dentist might recommend a consultation with an oral surgeon if you experience variations in optimal placement of your wisdom teeth. Impactions of the wisdom teeth can show up in several ways. Teeth can get stuck beneath the gums or bone structure when they attempt to move into place. They can also be crowded out by other molars. The wisdom teeth themselves can cause crowding, resulting in a malalignment of the adjacent teeth. You might actually notice pain, swelling, or odor coming from your mouth. These red flags are a good reason to follow your dentist’s advice and see an oral surgeon.
What happens if you ignore your dentist’s counsel? Common wisdom teeth warning signs include:
- Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
- Fluid-filled sacs (cysts)
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Gum disease
- Extensive tooth decay
If wisdom teeth are not extracted, they could continue to be increasingly problematic. Resulting issues include periodontal disease, damage to the jaw bone, inflammation of the sinus cavity, and damage to the surrounding teeth. These dilemmas are all avoidable with prevention and proactive care.
Making the Decision to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth
It’s important to ask your dentist as many questions as possible about what is happening in your mouth. He or she will look at the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth. Your age plays a role, too.
If you are still reluctant to part with your molars, ask your dentist to explain what he or she sees with your teeth. In many cases, you can wait several months to see if things change before making your decision. But if you have pain, swelling, or bad breath emanating from your back teeth, it may be time for a second look.
Don’t try to hold on to problematic teeth, as they can result in damage to other teeth and your bone structure. Be ready to take action when necessary. Your oral care team can help you achieve a healthy mouth and radiant smile that will be uniquely yours for a lifetime—so choose wisely.
Innovative Oral Surgery & Dental Implants in Bucks County and Montgomery County is pleased to offer cutting-edge care to our patients. If you live in the area and you are in need of an oral surgeon, please contact us for a consultation.
Additional Resources on When to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth:
- American Dental Association. Wisdom Teeth. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/wisdom-teeth
- Mayo Clinic. Wisdom Teeth Removal: When is it Necessary? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wisdom-teeth/expert-answers/wisdom-teeth-removal/faq-2005855