Wisdom teeth are basically a third set of molars in the very back of your mouth. Why are they there in the first place? One answer is that they’re vestigial – like the appendix, they’ve become functionless over the course of our evolution.
Some people look at them as a cruel joke nature played on us. While that’s (probably) not the case, one can see the reasoning for this attitude when you see what can happen if you don’t get your wisdom teeth removed – preferably at an early age. (This is something we do at our Rigby dental clinic.)
Wisdom teeth often overcrowd the mouth, causing the teeth to shift or overlap with each other. This can be painful, but more often than not the problem here is aesthetic – people often don’t like the way their teeth look after they’ve shifted too much.
This is when wisdom teeth get trapped below the gum line, which can be very painful.
Not only that, but you also run the risk of infection and abscess when this happens. A dental abscess is an inflamed pocket of pus that forms under the gum line – it usually resembles a pimple.
Not only does this hurt, but the bacteria can also get into the bloodstream causing sickness.
At our Rigby dental clinic, we can drain abscesses, but if you are experiencing impacted wisdom teeth, the time to get them removed was probably at least a year ago.
Another thing that can happen is your wisdom teeth can shift parallel to the jaw line and even backward! Eventually, this makes it difficult to open and close your jaw.
Wisdom teeth have a propensity to decay more than other teeth for the simple fact that they’re the furthest back in your mouth and are thus more difficult to reach.
Decay doesn’t just mean tooth decay – the gums surrounding the wisdom teeth often begin to show signs of gum disease as well.
If you don’t have your wisdom teeth out and don’t want them out, you need to monitor them more closely than your other teeth, and come into your Rigby dental clinic regularly for exams and cleanings.
Wisdom teeth should be removed earlier rather than later – the longer you live with them, the greater the odds of problems occurring. The surgery involved is also more complicated as you get older.
If you haven’t gotten them removed and have reached your late 20s, early 30s, and beyond, watch for these signs:
At our Rigby dental clinic, we can simply take x-rays of your teeth to see how your wisdom teeth are doing. If they’re growing strangely or causing problems, it’s a good idea to have them removed.
Wisdom teeth extraction doesn’t have to be a scary or difficult process, and you’ll be much better off in the long run having them removed.