Wisdom teeth are aptly named, sprouting from our gums usually well-into late adolescence, or even as late as adulthood (usually between the 17th and 21st year). And because they come into the mouth much later, they can cause many problems.
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
Oftentimes wisdom teeth grow up into a mouth without room for them. They crowd out other, more necessary teeth. Oftentimes, in a crowded mouth, wisdom teeth will sprout at awkward angles that can cause pain. Wisdom teeth that hurt, should be looked at by your dentist immediately; however, it is common to have minor discomfort or pressure—It is a tooth pushing up through gum tissue, after all.
There are other problems with wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth that don’t grow up into the correct position can trap food, and trapped food becomes a place for bacteria in the mouth to feed, for their population to grow, which is dangerous because bacteria are the cause of gum disease. Wisdom teeth that are too tight to the back of the mouth, or to the adjacent molars, are difficult, sometimes even impossible, to clean efficiently—there should be room on the faces of a tooth for a toothbrush to clean, and enough space between the teeth to floss. Sometimes a wisdom tooth will come only part way through the gum line, leaving gaps, allowing bacteria to find their way beneath the gum line, causing gum disease.
Fixing wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth often need to be pulled for any one of the above reasons. Most times, the surgery to remove wisdom teeth is simple and non-invasive. Although, usually, if surgery is needed, your dentist will remove all the wisdom teeth, even if, at the time, they are all not causing an issue. This is because the wisdom teeth will all likely cause an issue in the future, and, if you are already in the chair removing one or two, it’s best, usually, to take them all.
Your dentist will be able to speak with you about your options, look inside your mouth, and determine the course of action that best suits you.