When you’re a young adult, the last four permanent teeth to appear in your mouth are the third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth usually start coming in anywhere after the age of about 18. But rather than giving us the wisdom we would like, they often become problematic – even for those of us who have the best oral health. When wisdom teeth problems arise, dentists often recommend removing them, and there are a few reasons this may be the smartest thing to do. We take a look at the common reasons wisdom teeth are removed.

Incorrect Growth
When these teeth grow in, sometimes they take up too much space in the mouth. These teeth cannot be straightened out with braces. When the mouth is overcrowded, there is no procedure that can be done to make the teeth all fit together. The only option is to have them removed. A dentist can determine which teeth and how many need to come out. They might have to extract all of them or only a few. Before the wisdom teeth grow in, there is normally twenty-eight teeth in the mouth. After the wisdom teeth grow in, there are thirty-two teeth. There might not be enough room in everyone’s mouths to fit the extra teeth. Extraction is done to make sure that your mouth has enough room.

Pain and Irritation
Sometimes these teeth can cause aches and pains. If these pains occur, contact your dentist to find the right solution. They can determine if it is the actual wisdom teeth or if something else is causing the pain. When pains and irritations happen, the dentist will not always decide that extraction is the best solution. Over time, the pain might correct itself and no extraction will be required.

Difficulty Eating
If you experience pain while eating, this might be a reason to have your wisdom teeth taken out. Food could be getting stuck in between the gums and the tops of the teeth. This could cause a lot of problems if you cannot get to the back of the mouth and clean well enough while brushing. Checking with a dentist to find the right products to fix this problem is the best way to handle it. If it can’t be resolved, extraction might be the only choice.

A Cyst Forms Around the Tooth
When a sac next to the teeth becomes filled with fluid, this is called a cyst. If it goes untreated, it can destroy bones, roots and surrounding structures. It becomes too severe, it can turn into a tumor and require additional surgery.

Teeth are Not Straight
If the wisdom teeth grow in crooked, they can make the other teeth shift and move over. They might even damage the other teeth. Extraction can prevent the other teeth from having any damage. There are multiple theories why wisdom teeth tend to grow out crooked and sideways. It has been said that our jaws are not large enough to accommodate a 3rd molar which then bumps against the others causing it to grow sideways.

Sinus Issues
You wouldn’t think wisdom teeth can cause sinus problems, think again. These problems arise when teeth grow in on the upper jaw. When the teeth grow and roots develop, they can push and rub against the sinuses putting pressure on them. Even though this problem doesn’t happen frequently, wisdom teeth can sometimes lead to sinus pain, pressure, headaches, and congestions.

The position of the wisdom teeth can have a big impact on cleaning surfaces where bacteria can hide. If the gums become irritated, pockets can develop between the teeth and cause bacteria to grow. This will then promote the development of cavities leading to infecting and affecting more than just your teeth.

Inflamed Gums
Sometimes when wisdom teeth start sprouting out, it can create a flap of gum tissue that resides next to the tooth. This gum tissue can trap small particles of food and bacteria. Tissue around the teeth can become hard and inflamed, making it hard to clean. This is called pericoronitis, it can also occur around wisdom teeth that are still underneath your gums. The procedure is done by the dentist or the oral surgeon. Patients usually have a local or general anesthetic. Depending on how many teeth will be removed and the severity of the case, the procedure can take from one up to several hours. If you are having the surgery, you might have to avoid blood thinner and aspirin prior to the surgery. There will also be aftercare with prescription medication for the pain.

Do I Have to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Some people live with their wisdom teeth for their entire lives. It is not recommended to remove any teeth if there isn’t a need because there is the chance of the teeth shifting. If they are not causing you any problems, you should not worry about having them removed. If they have to be removed, you might have to have them removed two at a time (all of the top teeth or all of the bottom teeth), or you might have to get all of them removed at the same time. This option is what is recommended to keep you from having to make a second appointment. And while some dentists, do prefer to do top vs bottom, other dentists prefer to remove the teeth left vs. right so that the patient may retain some chewing capacity while healing. So, if a dentist were to remove the wisdom teeth on the left side, the patient would have the right side to chew with while healing. Whatever the condition that your teeth is in, visiting your dentist regularly can prevent painful occurrences later on. Making sure that you maintain a health dental routine along with a healthy diet will keep your mouth healthy and pain-free. A regular routine of brushing, flossing and using a good mouthwash will keep your smile free from infection and pain. Most importantly, make sure that you follow the directions of your dentist.

Do you have any questions about the common causes for wisdom teeth removal? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.