Wisdom teeth are as far back in the mouth as you can go, and they often stay inside the gums. Most people won’t have wisdom teeth that break through the gums without surgery, which means that they’ll likely deal with impacted teeth if they don’t have them removed. A family dentist may opt to remove these teeth or perform oral surgery to remove them.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are usually four teeth (some people have fewer) that emerge behind the molars around the ages of 17 to 21. These appear in the upper and lower jaw. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, and those who do may not have problems with them.
Sometimes, though, wisdom teeth only partially erupt. Other times, they won’t come out of the gum tissue at all. When teeth remain hidden or cannot push forward because of other bone or tissues in the way, the teeth become impacted.
Do You Need to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
The American Dental Association states that wisdom teeth may have to be removed in some circumstances, such as if:
- You have chronic headaches from jaw pain
- You develop fluid-filled sacs/cysts
- There is pain
- You have regular infections behind the back tooth
- There are tumors forming
- There is extensive tooth decay or gum disease
Not everyone has problems with their wisdom teeth, but if you have significant decay or frequent infections and pain, it’s time to look into a wisdom teeth extraction.
When Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
It is a good idea to have your wisdom teeth removed if they’re causing you pain or any physical problems. If there is any sign of bone loss or damage to the jaw’s nerves from the wisdom teeth or related cysts, your dentist may let you know that the teeth need to come out.
According to Colgate, removing the wisdom teeth later than the 20s is more difficult because the roots may have solidified into the jaw bone. Removing them at that stage increases the risk of damaging the inferior alveolar nerve, a major nerve found in the jaw.
As with any surgery, the surgeon will utilize sedation. Older adults may have a more challenging time recovering from it than younger individuals, which is why wisdom teeth extractions are typically performed earlier in life.
What Happens If Your Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, the removal may be a little trickier. Impacted wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to break the skin and come into the mouth. As a result, you may see only a tiny edge of the tooth or nothing at all.
Impacted wisdom teeth cause problems such as:
- Trouble eating/biting down
- Jumbled teeth from pushing them forward
- Red, swollen gums
- Trouble opening the mouth
- Bad breath
- Swelling around the jaw
Impacted wisdom teeth may become infected, so it’s important to talk to your dentist about your concerns and to have the wisdom teeth removed before they cause further damage. Sedation dentistry can be helpful if you’re concerned about going through the removal process.
Contact the Dental Center of Norcross
You don’t need to live in pain if your teeth are infected or damaged. Whether you’re young and need to have these teeth pulled or you’re looking to have oral surgery to correct damage caused by substance abuse, our team can help you. At the Dental Center of Norcross, we offer sedation dentistry and can help you get through an oral surgery confidently so you can have a healthy smile again. Call us today at 678.504.6422 to learn more about your wisdom teeth and if oral surgery is right for you.