Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to erupt. In most cases, the wisdom teeth don't make their appearance until a person reaches his or her late teens or early twenties. Some people think little about the minor discomfort of a wisdom tooth's normal eruption. However, for many adults, the wisdom teeth present a number of problems that necessitate the extraction of the teeth.
Here are a few of the issues that may make a wisdom tooth extraction necessary.
Teeth That Won't Erupt
Sometimes, wisdom teeth don't break through the surface of the gums. Instead, the teeth may grow laterally beneath the gums, placing painful pressure on adjacent teeth.
The pressure can even be great enough to push the other teeth out of proper alignment. Thus, it is important to remove the wisdom teeth early enough to avoid any undesirable effects.
If the wisdom teeth are causing pain but have not erupted, the dentist can view the positioning of the teeth using an x-ray. If the teeth are laterally configured, a surgical extraction is necessary. During the extraction, the oral surgeon must cut through the gums to access the hidden teeth.
Gum Infections Develop
The wisdom teeth may break through the gums but only present partially. As a result, a small hood of gum tissue may cover a portion of the tooth. This hood can trap plaque and other debris, causing the gums to become inflamed or irritated.
This irritation may persist until the trapped material is removed. However, the removal of the trapped debris provides only a temporary solution. More material will likely become trapped until the gums are cut away or the wisdom tooth is extracted.
Dental Decay Develops
The wisdom teeth are the third molars and located in the very rear of the mouth. As a result, the teeth are difficult to access with a toothbrush and dental floss. Since the teeth may be more difficult to clean, they are apt to develop decay.
Once decay develops in a wisdom tooth, it can spread to other nearby teeth. The removal of the wisdom teeth eliminates the opportunity for decay and the need to clean the teeth.
Teeth that may be properly aligned before the presentation of the wisdom teeth may become misaligned as the wisdom teeth erupt. If there is too little room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to present, other teeth may be forced out of position to accommodate the incoming molars. The removal of the wisdom teeth can preserve the proper alignment of the other teeth.
If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth, contact a dentist or oral surgeon in your local area.