Many people end up getting their wisdom teeth removed as a precaution. However, the majority of people experience some kind of issue with their wisdom teeth, so getting them removed is often the best choice for patients. Some patients don’t have the option of leaving their wisdom teeth in—there are several factors that determine whether or not your wisdom teeth can stay or go. What are the top reasons you may need to get your wisdom teeth removed?
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are often impacted, which means they’re not able to fully erupt through the gum line due to limited space. If you’ve previously had orthodontic work done, the arrival of your wisdom teeth can effectively ruin your orthodontic work by pushing your bottom and top rows of teeth forward. This can cause overcrowding and crooked teeth.
Overcrowding does more than ruin the appearance of your smile—teeth that are too close together or in awkward positions can become breeding grounds for plaque and bacteria. These accumulated bacteria are often difficult to remove without professional cleanings, and can lead to tartar, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Gum Disease or Tooth Decay
Wisdom teeth are notoriously difficult to clean. This is often because they’re so far back in your mouth that they’re not able to be reached properly with regular and flossing. They’re also difficult to clean because oftentimes they don’t actually come through the gum line, and their suspended state there can lead to gingivitis, or the beginning phase of gum disease.
Gingivitis is a swelling of your gums caused by buildup of plaque around the gum line. Eventually, your gums can recede, you may lose bone in your jaw, and your teeth could need to be pulled. Gum disease can spread and lead to tooth decay and the potential need for extractions.
Infected Wisdom Teeth
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, they could irritate your gums and other teeth due to their tricky position in the mouth. They could also rub against your gums and cause painful cysts. These cysts need to be professionally treated. Infection can also happen because again, wisdom teeth are difficult to clean. To avoid irritation and infected teeth, many patients choose to get their wisdom teeth removed.
If you let your lower wisdom teeth mature, they could grow near the nerve in your bottom jaw and be difficult to remove, not to mention painful. They can also cause mild to severe headaches such as migraines in addition to jaw or facial pain, and make it difficult for you to chew. Pain is often a reason why people opt to get their wisdom teeth out—too often patients who leave theirs in experience painful symptoms just a few years later.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a personal decision that should only be guided by a professional dentist and oral surgeon. X-rays will be needed to determine the location of your wisdom teeth and if they’re impacted or not. Consider these top reasons your wisdom teeth may need to go!