Wisdom teeth are not inherently bad, but they do cause problems for a lot of people. This is why many people choose to have them extracted before they erupt. If you did not have your wisdom teeth removed as a teen or young adult, your third molars may be fine. Either way, you should know the symptoms that may indicate your wisdom teeth are jeopardizing your oral health. It’s never too late to have your wisdom teeth extracted, and there may come a time when you’ll need to have it done.
To have your wisdom teeth evaluated, visit Texas Oral Surgery Specialists. Colleyville, TX oral surgeon Dr. Chris Tye will use x-rays and other digital imaging tools to assess what is happening in your mouth, so you can get a clear picture of the status of your wisdom teeth. Call our Colleyville, TX office at 817-552-3223 to make an appointment.
Why Wisdom Teeth Cause Problems
The curious thing about wisdom teeth, and the reason why so many people choose to remove them, is that they are not really necessary for proper dentition. Our modern diet contains less tough, fibrous food and unprocessed grains than we consumed thousands of years ago, so two sets of molars is enough. Additionally, the human jaw has gotten progressively smaller over time, yet we still develop the same number of teeth to fill those jawbones. This is why so many wisdom teeth have trouble finding enough room to erupt and wind up impacted.
Molars in general are harder to keep clean than other teeth, and are therefore more prone to decay. Their deep ridges, pits, and crevices are the perfect hiding place for the food particles and bacteria that lead to cavities. Their location at the back of the mouth makes them harder to keep clean, as you have to strain and re-arrange your hand to brush and floss them effectively.
Molars are also more prone to structural damage (fractures, cracks) because we tend to use them to bite down on hard foods. They are our hard-core crunchers and grinders, so we use them harder than the teeth at the front of the mouth. When you bite an almond or corn-nut, for example, you always use your molars.
Whether it’s decay or a fracture, or a combination of the two, the third molars are simply more likely to have problems. Because wisdom teeth are technically not necessary for proper dentition, the easiest solution in these cases is extraction.
The Risks of Problematic Wisdom Teeth
Problematic wisdom teeth can lead to a host of oral health conditions:
- Misalignment or crowding
- Damage to other teeth
- Tooth infections
- Gum disease
- Jaw problems, such as TMJ disorder
Signs Your Wisdom Teeth are Jeopardizing Your Oral Health
If you still have your third molars, learn to recognize the symptoms that your wisdom teeth may be problematic:
- Swelling or tenderness in the back of the mouth
- Dark or white spots on the wisdom teeth
- Jaw pain
- Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Difficulty chewing on one or both sides
Pain is the most important symptom to watch out for. Wisdom tooth pain may manifest as an ache around the tooth, a throbbing toothache, or sporadic shooting pain. If you ever experience pain that is accompanied by a fever or swelling in the cheeks or face, see an emergency dentist (or go to the emergency room) as soon as possible, as you may have developed an abscess, which can spread infection to other parts of the body.
To have your wisdom teeth assessed, visit Texas Oral Surgery Specialists. Call 817-552-3223 to make an appointment with Colleyville oral surgeon, Dr. Chris Tye.