July 13, 2021
During your bi-annual visit, your dentist informs you that your wisdom teeth must be removed. If they’re not causing you any discomfort, you might be wondering if the procedure is even needed. After all, since there’s no pain, there should be no problem – right? Not necessarily. Here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth and the issues that can arise if you postpone their removal.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located in the very back of our mouths. Long ago, they were vital for our ancestors, as they survived on raw meat, nuts, roots, berries, and leaves. Since they couldn’t use knives to cut and prepare food, chewing tough and coarse foods required a larger jaw and strong molars. But over time, our jawline became less broad and smaller due to how food is prepared and consumed, making wisdom teeth no longer necessary.
Most people get them in their late teens and early twenties. If they’re healthy and properly aligned, they can be a valuable asset. But more often than not, they are misaligned and will require removal to prevent further problems.
Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?
Usually, dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal to prevent short-term and long-term problems, including:
- Damage to surrounding teeth. The extra molars can push other teeth around, leading to mouth pain and bite problems.
- Jaw damage. Cysts can form around your wisdom teeth. If left untreated, they can hollow out your jaw and damage the nerves.
- Sinus issues. Problems caused by the extra set of molars can lead to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
- Inflamed gums. The tissue around your wisdom teeth can swell, making it difficult to clean.
- Cavities. Swollen gums can create pockets between the teeth, helping bacteria grow and causing cavities to form.
- Alignment. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause your teeth to crowd, making orthodontic treatment necessary to straighten them.
Signs You May Need Wisdom Teeth Removal
Have you decided to hold off on wisdom teeth removal? Contact your dentist right away if you experience any of the following:
- Pain toward the back of the mouth
- Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
- Fluid-filled sacs (cysts)
- Gum disease
- Damage to other teeth
- Extensive tooth decay in the molars
If your dentist has decided that wisdom teeth removal is the best course of action, don’t prolong the procedure. Get them out as soon as possible to prevent additional problems – it’ll save you plenty of time and pain down the line!
About the Author
Dr. Roger Morton brings close to two decades of experience to Wylie Family Dentistry. He earned his dental doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Today, Dr. Morton regularly pursues continuing education to keep his skills sharp. If you need wisdom teeth removal, visit our website or call (972) 442-5599 to schedule an appointment.
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