We brush our teeth twice a day, we floss (hopefully every day), we chew with our teeth, and our teeth help us talk. So even though our teeth are essential to our everyday lives, our wisdom teeth no longer serve a purpose, and don’t often cross our minds — unless there’s a problem. Wisdom teeth are typically removed sometime in our late teens or early 20s, but how do we know when they should be removed, if at all?
At New Smile in Denver, we offer a range of cosmetic dentistry services, including tooth extraction and wisdom teeth extraction. If you have regular dental checkups, your dentist will be able to advise on when they should be removed. But if you begin to notice any of these following signs before your next checkup, it might be worth making a special appointment, or talking with a dental professional. Dr. Kate Steele and her team want to provide the very best care available, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.
Common Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Are Coming In
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Teeth need enough room to grow and develop normally. When there isn’t enough space for the teeth to emerge from the gums, they are considered impacted. There are some cases where impacted wisdom teeth don’t have any side effects, they simply remain below the gums. With a dental examination or X-rays, your dentist will be able to determine if you have impacted wisdom teeth. However, the teeth may also become twisted, tilted, or displaced, which can lead to other issues. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth can include swollen or tender gums, jaw pain, stiffness of the jaw, or difficulty opening your mouth.
When wisdom teeth do emerge from the gums, it can cause the other molars to become out of whack. Everyone has a total of 32 teeth, including their four wisdom teeth. There is simply not enough space for all of the teeth to fit in your mouth and for them to be straight at the same time — requiring wisdom teeth extraction. When too many teeth are trying to fit into a small space, it either causes crooked teeth, or some of the teeth need to be removed. Your dentist can determine if just some or all of the wisdom teeth will need to be removed.
Pain and Irritation
As you can imagine, when wisdom teeth are coming in, it can cause pain and discomfort. If you are ever experiencing tooth pain, it’s a good idea to visit a dental professional as soon as possible. With X-rays, your doctor can determine the source of the problem. It may not always be your wisdom teeth. Tooth extraction isn’t always the best answer, but it often depends on the overall condition of your teeth and the location of your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth that have emerged from the gums need to be brushed and flossed just like your other teeth. But reaching this far back into the mouth can be difficult. If food has gotten stuck in between the gums or the tops of the teeth, it can cause an infection, which can result in pain and difficulty eating. When food isn’t brushed away from the surface of the teeth, it’s the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, potentially leading to tooth decay and cavities. Talk with your dentist about what course of action is best to handle this situation.
A Cyst Forms
In some cases, when a wisdom tooth has not erupted from the gums, it can cause a cyst to develop, known as a dentigerous cyst. These are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the jaw bone or soft gum tissue of an unerupted tooth. When a cyst goes untreated, it can damage the bone, tooth roots, and the surrounding tooth structures.
Even though your nose and mouth appear pretty far apart, they are actually closely connected. Sinus issues can develop when the wisdom teeth on the upper jaw grow and develop roots. This problem is fairly rare, but sinus pressure can develop from the roots pushing up against the sinuses. Sinus pressure can lead to cold-like symptoms, including headaches and congestion.
As wisdom teeth begin emerging from the gums, it can damage the surface of the gums. In some cases, the gums may tear slightly, leaving spaces for food to get caught. Stuck food can lead to bacteria growth and inflamed gums. Inflammation can cause pain and discomfort as well.
Every situation is unique, and so not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. However, millions of wisdom teeth are extracted every year. The first exam to check for wisdom teeth growth typically happens around the age of 16 or 17. It will depend on the structure and condition of your teeth whether or not they are removed, how many, and when they are extracted.
If your dentist has recommended that your wisdom teeth be removed, Dr. Kate Steele at New Smile in Denver can help. New Smile offers a range of sedation options to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the tooth extraction procedure. Before the extraction, we will go over all of your options and explore the differences so that you can make an informed decision regarding the best sedation option that is right for your needs. If you are nervous about pain, we can assure you that the procedure will go smoothly.
If you have any questions, contact New Smile today.