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Getting your wisdom teeth is a perfectly normal part of adulthood. However, the emergence of your third molars does not come without its issues. The eruption of wisdom teeth often leads to extreme pain, discomfort, infection, and even jawbone damage. As a result, wisdom teeth typically need to be extracted.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third molars. Located in the very back of the mouth, they usually emerge between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five, making them the last permanent teeth to erupt in most adults. However, wisdom teeth do not always emerge. You may end up with four wisdom teeth, or you may not have any at all.
Although wisdom teeth were once essential for grinding and chewing tough food early in human history, they are no longer necessary. In fact, wisdom teeth now cause far more problems than they solve.
The Problem With Wisdom Teeth
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Abnormally positioned and often unerupted wisdom teeth are called “impacted” teeth. Not only are these teeth painful, but they pose a serious risk to your oral health.
Wisdom teeth that are embedded below the gum line are not benign. Most wisdom teeth fail to emerge because they lie sideways, are positioned at an angle, or are blocked due to space restrictions. In some cases, the wisdom tooth only partially erupts through the gum.
Impacted wisdom teeth are easily infected. Pericoronitis, the infection of impacted wisdom teeth, can even spread to other parts of the body. Additionally, abscesses can form, which then damage the roots of surrounding teeth and erode bone support.
Signs of Pericoronitis:
Swollen and painful gums
Bleeding around the affected area
Persistent bad breath
Severe pain in the molars that makes chewing impossible
Erupted Wisdom Teeth
Even if your wisdom teeth manage to erupt from the gum, they can still be problematic. Firstly, they can crowd and damage nearby healthy teeth if there isn’t enough room in your mouth. If space is scarce, wisdom teeth can erupt at odd angles, causing further crowding and discomfort.
Additionally, the wisdom tooth may erupt only partially. In this case, the tooth is nearly impossible to see and clean properly, which can lead to serious oral health issues.
Wisdom teeth can fully erupt in the correct position without crowding the rest of your teeth. However, these teeth are still located at the very back of your mouth. This makes them extremely difficult to clean and care for properly. As a result, wisdom teeth are more prone to developing cavities.
5 Reasons Why Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Extracted
1. Extreme pain and discomfort
Wisdom teeth cause pain when they erupt. If they erupt incorrectly, the pain is extreme and persistent.
Any tooth pain or sensitivity is an indicator that something is very wrong and must be addressed immediately. When it comes to wisdom teeth, extreme discomfort and pain can mean jawbone damage, tooth crowding, and infection.
2. Crowding and damage to other teeth
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge in adults. This means that the rest of your adult teeth are already in the right positions when the wisdom teeth emerge. As a result, the arrival of your wisdom teeth can cause your current teeth to shift, which leads to overcrowding.
Overcrowding brings with it a variety of negative effects. For example, it can cause tooth sensitivity, bite problems, and pain. It can also ruin your perfect smile!
Additionally, overcrowding can make good oral hygiene difficult. There may be areas of your teeth that are far harder to reach with a toothbrush. If this happens, you are at a higher risk of tooth decay or cavities.
3. Jawbone damage
All teeth form in the jaws before erupting through the gums. However, if there is not enough space for the wisdom teeth to correctly emerge, this can damage the jawbone. This results in impaired motion and function of the mouth, as well as extreme pain and discomfort.
4. Inflamed gums
Wisdom teeth that erupt incorrectly can seriously damage the surrounding gums. For example, wisdom teeth that emerge at an angle cause the gums to swell and become difficult to clean. If you can’t clean your gums properly, it can lead to infection, cavities, and tooth decay.
5. Sinus problems
Your wisdom teeth can actually affect your sinuses. Sinuses are located behind the nose, which is close to the upper back jaw where wisdom teeth emerge. The roots of growing wisdom teeth can put pressure on the sinus area, leading to headaches and sinus infections.
Why extract “healthy” wisdom teeth?
For some lucky individuals, their wisdom teeth emerge in the right position and do not crowd the other teeth. However, even in these cases, you should still consider having your wisdom teeth removed.
It’s much harder to keep wisdom teeth clean and healthy. They are far more likely to develop cavities than any other teeth in your mouth. This is because wisdom teeth sit very far back in the mouth, making them hard to reach. Consequently, most people have difficulty properly brushing and flossing their wisdom teeth, which quickly leads to cavities.
Alternatively, perhaps your wisdom teeth have not yet emerged, but seem to be healthy based on the X-rays your doctor has taken. It may look like they will fully erupt straight and with enough space. Even so, wisdom teeth can reposition themselves at any time while embedded in the gums. This means you can still suffer impaction and infection.
Looking for wisdom teeth surgery in Toronto?
Bloor West Smiles has more than twenty-five years of wisdom teeth removal experience. Furthermore, we can handle complex extractions so that you can regain complete and painless function in your mouth.