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Everything You Need to Know about Wisdom Teeth

Content originally posted on 08/07/2012, 03/16/2017, and 03/13/2019. 

A digital display shows the wisdom teeth in the back of the lower jaw as they grow.

With age comes bodily changes. The development and changes in your mouth are no different than every other part of your growing body. Teeth go through many stages. 

From “baby” or non-permanent teeth through permanent teeth, there are many new editions ready to help you chew your food. However, wisdom teeth present a unique situation. Up to 35% of people never develop descended wisdom teeth. Those who do have their wisdom teeth come in, about 85% of people have them removed.

There is a lot to know about wisdom teeth. We will go through the most important info you should know about wisdom teeth, signs you need wisdom teeth removed, why to remove wisdom teeth, wisdom tooth extraction, and more.

Reasons Why Your Wisdom Teeth Might Require Extraction

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that nine of every 10 individuals have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Correcting this painful condition is just one of the many benefits of this common procedure. Southfield Family Dental Center wants you to better understand the importance of wisdom tooth extraction and how this procedure may help you.

Guard Against Disease

Most wisdom teeth extractions are performed as a preventative treatment to avoid infection, impaction, and other severe oral conditions. By around age 18, most people will notice their wisdom teeth, or third molars, beginning to erupt. A general dentist will monitor the progress of his patients’ wisdom teeth through visual examinations and X-rays. Because the wisdom teeth are the last to emerge, they seldom have room to grow fully; in this case, your dentist will likely recommend extraction before you develop serious dental problems.

Prevent Misalignment

Once your wisdom teeth begin growing in, they can negatively affect your natural smile. As wisdom teeth emerge, it’s not uncommon for them to put pressure on and shift existing teeth out of place. As your child enters late adolescence and adulthood, wisdom teeth can especially become a problem following orthodontic or other corrective treatment. Developing wisdom teeth can jeopardize the dental work that you or your child has already undergone. After having your wisdom teeth extracted, the risk of your teeth misaligning and shifting is immediately reduced.

Improve Dental Hygiene

If you decline your dentist’s recommendations and decide to allow your wisdom teeth to grow in, you could experience dental hygiene issues. Due to insufficient space, wisdom teeth tend to grow at odd angles and press against other teeth. These positions make it more difficult to adequately brush and floss in order to remove bacteria, which could lead to cavities and gum disease.

Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Taken Out

Those are the reasons to have your wisdom teeth extracted. We often get asked how you can tell that you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed. Keep reading to learn the biggest signs that it is time.

Pain or Irritation

We have all heard about “growing pains.” The growth spurts in middle and high school also mean creaky, often painful joints. But when the pain persists, your body is trying to tell you something is wrong.

Background pain or persistent irritation in the back of your mouth is an indicator that something is not right with your wisdom teeth. If you experience pain on an average day, don’t tough it out, call your dentist right away.

Difficulty Eating

On the topic of pain, if you experience difficulty eating, you may have a problem with your wisdom teeth. There could be food getting stuck between your emerging teeth and the gums. If left untreated, this food could lead to gum disease.

Inflamed or Tender Gums

Sometimes, wisdom teeth can burst through your gums. This dramatic introduction can cause problems in the surrounding gums. Gum flaps or gaps between the new wisdom teeth and your gums could act as pockets for bacteria to grow. If you notice tender or inflamed gums near your wisdom teeth, reach out to your dentist.

Crooked Beginnings

Some wisdom teeth emerge as crocked. This abnormal growth can impact the rest of the teeth by forcing them out of the way. A shift in your entire mouth could cause alignment issues which left untreated could require corrective braces.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction 

Wisdom teeth that have fully burst through the gums are removed like any other tooth. If a wisdom tooth is impacted and stuck in the jawbone, your dentist will have to cut into your gums and remove bone that is over the tooth.

In these cases, dentists usually remove small portions at a time to minimize bone loss. In addition to an anesthetic to numb you from the pain, your dentist may also recommend a sedative such as nitrous oxide or Valium to help calm your anxiety. Your dentist can talk you through your options for your wisdom teeth extraction.

Recovery From Wisdom Tooth Surgery

You will experience some bleeding after the dentist removes your wisdom tooth. However, contact your dentist immediately if you bleed excessively. You will also experience some facial swelling - this swelling will go soon. Over-the-counter medications help with the pain after wisdom tooth surgery, or your dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe stronger pain relievers. You must also resist smoking and stick to a liquid diet for your recovery to be successful and infection-free.

Get Help with Your Wisdom Teeth from Southfield Smile Dentists

Don’t wait for your wisdom teeth to become a problem—schedule your appointment at Southfield Family Dental Center today. Our highly trained dentists can also recommend general and cosmetic dentistry treatments to enhance your natural smile. Call (248) 327-0313 today.

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