Wisdom teeth serve an important purpose during chewing. They help us chew rough food, such as roots, nuts, and meats. Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop. In most cases, they erupt around the age of 17. Like other teeth, these sets of molars get infections and cavities, leading to severe toothache and inflammation of the gums. Sometimes, problems with these molars cannot be corrected, and wisdom teeth removal is the only option.
Signs that You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal
Every year, about five million Americans get their wisdom teeth removed. In most cases, problems with wisdom teeth are experienced before the age of 25. However, people in other age brackets may also experience dental issues that may necessitate wisdom teeth removal.
The common signs that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed include:
1. Cavities and Tooth Decay
Since wisdom teeth are positioned at the back of your mouth, they are prone to decay. As you brush your teeth, the toothbrush may not adequately clean the back of the mouth. So, wisdom teeth are more likely to develop severe cavities than other teeth.
Wisdom teeth cavity leads to extreme toothache. If left untreated, the infection spreads to other teeth rapidly. Since filling and root canal treatment may not be possible, dentists mainly recommend wisdom teeth removal.
2. Extreme Sensitivity
The first sign that your wisdom teeth aren't okay is severe sensitivity. This sensation affects both the teeth and gums. You will feel sensitivity when eating, drinking cold or hot beverages, or brushing your teeth.
Sometimes, you experience sensitivity when doing nothing at all. On most occasions, wisdom teeth sensitivity takes the form of pain or throbbing sensation. If you have such signs, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist.
3. Inflamed Gums
If the wisdom teeth have an infection, the gums become swollen and inflamed. In some cases, the wisdom teeth erupt partially, leading to the formation of soft tissues known as the operculum.
Typically, bacteria get trapped under these tissues, causing severe infection and swelling of the gums. If the affected wisdom tooth is not removed, the infection may spread beyond the jaw to the neck and cheeks.
4. Crooked Teeth
Overcrowded or crooked teeth mainly affect wisdom teeth. Often, wisdom teeth erupt when all the other teeth are fully grown. Sometimes, there isn't enough space for them to grow, leading to overcrowding. Since nothing can be done to correct the malocclusion, dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal.
Unlike the other teeth, wisdom teeth are more susceptible to infections due to their position at the back of the mouth. On other occasions, they may erupt partially or be overcrowded, leading to even worse dental problems. Dentists mostly recommend wisdom teeth removal to prevent the spread of infections to other teeth.
For more information on wisdom teeth removal, contact a dentist or oral surgeon like Dr. Robert M. Lasell, DDS.