Have you ever wondered why the last four molars to develop in your mouth are called “wisdom teeth”? While most teeth begin erupting during infancy through your toddler years, wisdom teeth show up in your late teens and early 20s. For most of us, we have gained a little more wisdom (at least more than we had as babies), by the time these late bloomers appear.
Positioned in the back of the mouth, two on the bottom and two on the top, when wisdom teeth begin erupting, they can lead to troublesome side effects including crooked or tilted teeth, discomfort, and inflammation. Some people even have issues with teeth only partially erupting or remaining impacted below the gum line, resulting in ongoing jaw pain and infection.
Reasons for wisdom teeth removal
While infection and ongoing pain are two of the most common reasons for wisdom teeth extraction, other factors can include:
- Overcrowding: When wisdom teeth erupt, they can cause your existing teeth to shift out of place, resulting in overlapping or crooked teeth. Each tooth is intended to fit tightly against one another, but a small mouth, disproportionate teeth, or baby teeth that fall out too soon can cause permanent teeth to come in incorrectly or shift from their proper position.
- Sinus issues: Impacted or partially impacted wisdom teeth located in the upper jaw can result in chronic pain, pressure, or an infection in your sinus cavity.
- Incorrect growth: Since your wisdom teeth are typically the last teeth to develop in your mouth, there may not be adequate space. This can cause them to grow in crooked or remain partially impacted, increasing your risk of dental misalignment and infection. Infection is typically a result of food particles getting trapped within the flaps of tissue around the tooth.
- Difficult oral hygiene maintenance: Because of their location, it is hard to keep wisdom teeth clean and free of plaque build-up. When your wisdom teeth grow in crooked and cause nearby teeth to overlap, it creates the ideal circumstances for food particles to get trapped. Over time, this can place you at risk of tooth decay and cavities.
If you’re suffering from any of the above issues, your dentist may recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed in order to protect the surrounding teeth from getting damaged.
Signs of teeth or gum infection
If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms around your wisdom teeth, it may be a sign of infection that should be addressed immediately:
- Swollen gums
- Jaw pain and facial swelling
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Gums with a visible pustule
Why routine examinations at your Saskatoon Dentist are important
Through routine dental examinations, our dentists can keep an eye on the development of your teeth. Even if your wisdom teeth are not currently causing you pain or discomfort, Dr. Michael Rosenhek or Dr. Kris Marshall will be able to determine, through x-rays, if you are at risk of experiencing issues later on. Many patients are encouraged to undergo wisdom teeth removal during adolescence as the jaw is still developing. However, wisdom teeth removal can also be performed for adult patients who are in need of relief.
Contact our dental clinic in Saskatoon, SK
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above as a result of your wisdom teeth, contact Silverwood Dental today by calling (306) 242-5233 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosenhek or Dr. Marshall.