Wisdom teeth are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth—a fact family dentist Dr. Tamatha C. Pantano, DMD can attest to given the number of patients she receives requesting to have them removed.
Wisdom teeth are an additional set of molars that grow at the back end of your mouth, behind your standard set of upper and lower teeth. They typically emerge when you’re around 17 to 21 years old to bring your number of adult teeth to 32. Because their purpose is to grind food, they’re extremely tough and wide.
Unfortunately, wisdom teeth can cause several problems. You’ll know it’s time to have them removed when you start experiencing the following issues:
1. They push against your other teeth
Your oral cavity may not be big enough to accommodate all 32 teeth. In such cases, the emerging wisdom teeth may push against your other teeth, leading to problems such as crooked teeth.
2. They’re impacted
Due to the aforementioned lack of space, wisdom teeth may not be able to develop or emerge normally. As such, they can become stuck below the gum line, and even move horizontally to push on your other teeth. This can result in dental damage, pain, and a slew of other issues.
3. They emerge at a wrong angle
Wisdom teeth should erupt at a straight, upright angle. If they come out all crooked, however, they can exert pressure on and damage your other teeth.
4. You can’t reach them for cleaning
Wisdom teeth may be difficult to reach with a toothbrush or floss, preventing you from cleaning them properly. This makes you more susceptible to gum disease and cavities.
Refusing to have your wisdom teeth removed despite the above symptoms can lead to other health risks, such as:
Sinus issues: These can result in congestion, headaches, pressure, and pain.
Cysts: These can form around problematic wisdom teeth to damage nerves, roots, and even bone. They can also develop into tumors that can only be removed through a complex surgery.
Overall health complications: Cavities and gum disease can increase the risk of far more serious overall health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.
The removal of wisdom teeth is extremely common, with the U.S. seeing 10 million wisdom teeth extractions annually. It’s best to have them excised sooner rather than later; your bones grow more brittle with age, making removal and recovery more difficult the older you get.
If you think you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, please contact Audubon Dental Center via our website or at (301) 856-1122. If you’d like to know how else we can help you, please browse our list of available services.