What should I know about wisdom teeth?

by: Roy Smith, D.D.S.

I have rarely had a patient ask me about their wisdom teeth without hearing a bit of anxiety in their voice. Like many things in life, we don’t think about them unless they are creating a problem for us. Unfortunately, the majority of people do develop problems with their wisdom teeth as they are prone to come in misaligned. For many, that means extraction.

So why do so many people need their wisdom teeth removed? Because misaligned wisdom teeth can crowd or even damage the adjacent teeth. Most people do not have a mouth large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, which can end up causing a chain reaction of alignment problems to the rest of their teeth. Depending on how severe the problem, wisdom teeth can even cause damage to your jawbone and nerves.

Another frequent issue people face is impacted wisdom teeth. When a tooth is impacted, it means it is either partially or completely below the surface. When this occurs, the opening in the gum caused by an emerging wisdom tooth allows bacteria to enter around the tooth. This can lead to infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and even illness. These teeth are often prone to tooth decay and gum disease as well, because they are difficult to clean with regular brushing and flossing. 

Do you need your wisdom teeth assessed? Stop in and talk to one of the dentists at Monarch Dental. And remember, don’t wait until they become a problem; prevention is always better than treatment.

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