Having wisdom teeth removed is almost a rite of passage for many young adults. For some lucky individuals, it will be the only surgical procedure they will ever need! For even luckier individuals, their wisdom teeth may never grow in or need to be removed. For those of us who have not had our wisdom teeth removed, we may be wondering when or if it will be necessary to have the procedure done. To answer that, let’s first take a look at what wisdom teeth are.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually come through during late adolescence. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but some people may not even develop all four. Others might develop a bonus tooth! If this third set of molars come in all the way and in line with the rest of the teeth, it can be perfectly fine to go your whole life without needing them removed as long as they can be properly cleaned. Most people do end up having some kind of pain or infection when the teeth partially breakthrough, leading to the need for the wisdom teeth to be removed.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Each year when you visit Centreville Dentistry, our dental staff will take x-rays to monitor the progression of growth of the wisdom teeth, if present. Our team of capable professionals will develop a plan for removal if deemed necessary. Some of the reasons that an individual may need their wisdom teeth removed include pain or infection, cysts/tumors, and potential damage to other teeth.
Pain and Infection
When wisdom teeth do not fully come through, bacteria can work its way into the gums causing pain, swelling, and infection. Food can also get stuck in little pockets near the tooth which creates a high risk of bacteria growth. If you are having pain at the very back of your mouth be sure to let the dentist know right away as this could be a sign that your wisdom teeth should be removed.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow incorrectly, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth pose a threat of pain and infection, but could also cause a cyst to form which could in turn damage other parts of the mouth.
Damage to Other Teeth
If wisdom teeth begin to emerge and do not have enough room, they can crowd nearby teeth. Sometimes the teeth will grow in at weird angles or even sideways, and this can create issues with crowding. Some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth as a preventative measure so that this doesn’t happen.
The staff at Centreville Dentistry will work with you to monitor your wisdom teeth, and come up with a plan of action based on cutting edge diagnostics. Our capable staff will help you to determine if your wisdom teeth can co-exist happily with your other teeth, or if it is time to say good-bye.