Most people know that wisdom teeth develop later in the mouth than other adult teeth, and may need to be removed if they come in awkwardly or if there is insufficient room to accommodate them.
But did you know that retaining your wisdom teeth, even as an adult could also lead to serious health problems? Keeping your wisdom teeth can cause uncomfortable, possibly dangerous oral health conditions. For that reason, dental health professionals generally recommend extraction when wisdom teeth begin to emerge and suggest consulting an oral surgeon.
Your Philadelphia oral surgeon prefers to extract wisdom teeth as a preventive measure, stopping health problems before they start. Wisdom teeth extraction is a surgical procedure where the tooth’s crown and roots are both removed.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars, which arrive during early adulthood, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. When wisdom teeth arrive, adult teeth tend to be well-established. Often, there is not enough room for wisdom teeth to fully develop in the mouth. With limited room, wisdom teeth generally do not come in upright, but instead come through impacted (meaning they get stuck in the gums). If wisdom teeth emerge at all, it may be only partially.
What Problems Can Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Limited room in the mouth combined with impaction makes wisdom teeth prone to infection. In addition, their eruption may cause unhealthy misalignment of already established teeth. Patients may need orthodontic treatment after wisdom tooth eruption if their teeth become overlapped or crooked. So your dental health professional may recommend their removal to correct past issues or to prevent the development of future issues.
Generally, wisdom teeth should be removed when there is evidence of such negative developments as:
• Pain or infection
• Cysts, or tumors
• Damage to adjacent teeth or tooth decay
On top of these issues, people who retain their wisdom teeth increase their risk for developing periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease, especially advanced cases, poses great danger to oral health, and periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
How Long Do Wisdom Teeth Pose a Danger?
Wisdom teeth that are not removed will always pose a threat to quality of life. Individuals who keep their wisdom teeth into adulthood are more likely to experience facial pain, swelling, toothaches, and frequent headaches. Since our mouths evolve over time, wisdom teeth that are not removed may suddenly flare up and start causing discomfort—even if they have never before caused a problem.
For all these reasons, wisdom teeth need to be continuously monitored. If you still have your wisdom teeth, regular dental visits are important, so that your dental health professional can monitor them and ensure your optimal oral health.
Austin Oral Surgery