The road to a healthy smile starts at the very beginning with your first tooth, but one of the stops on that road usually happens in your early twenties. This is the age that your wisdom teeth start to come in and if they are not removed they can lead to bigger problems. If you are one of the many who had braces for years during your early teens, you do not want your wisdom teeth to undo your hard earned and perfectly straight smile.
How do you know when or if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed?
For starters, it is not always necessary to have them removed. If they come in, fully impacted, and positioned in your mouth correctly, without pain or dental problems, there is not an absolute reason to have them removed. However, there are more reasons to have them removed then there are to let them be.
Here are some examples and reasons why it is wise to see a professional about the possibility of removing your wisdom teeth:
- They are impacted – This usually means they are coming in sideways. If they are horizontal they do not have the proper room to grow. This can cause your wisdom teeth to collide with the roots of the adjacent molars and can be extremely painful.
- Age – Many studies have shown that the risk of having periodontal defect on the second molar, when wisdom teeth are present, is increased within older adults. The risk of cavities also increases with age. Studies have shown that post-op complications decrease when the molar is removed early before the roots have fully formed. This helps eliminate the possibility for dry socket, gum pockets, nerve injury, and infection.
- Gum disease – The pocket depth between the second molar can be a breeding ground for the bacteria associated with gum disease. It has been proven that the bacteria count around the molars decreases with the removal of wisdom teeth.
- Pregnancy – (No this won’t affect the ability to become pregnant) However, wisdom teeth can cause inflammation, which has been linked to other diseases and health problems within the body, including pregnancy outcomes.
- Dental crowding – This takes us to back to the subject of all those years of wearing braces to get a beautiful-straight smile. Wisdom teeth have a mind of their own and can often come in shoving your other molars out of the way. This can cause your teeth to move and become misaligned.
- Cleaning problems – Because molars are the farthest tooth in the back of your mouth it makes it hard to reach them with a toothbrush and floss. This can lead to gum disease, cavities, and decay.
The American Dental Association suggest the removal of wisdom teeth if any of the following things are affecting the adjacent molars:
- Infection of the soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
- Extensive tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Cracks or other damage
Although the decision to have your wisdom teeth removed isn’t always crystal clear, seeking the advice of a professional is your best bet. Our office can help you decide when and if wisdom teeth removal is the best choice for your oral health. Contact our office for more information and our friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you may have concerning your wisdom teeth.