Four Problems That Mean It's Time To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
It's usually recommended to remove wisdom teeth between the ages of 18 and 24, before the roots are fully formed and when there are fewer chances for problems. Adults that don't have their teeth removed during this window may assume they have nothing to worry about, but this isn't always true. The following four problems may mean it's time to get your wisdom teeth pulled, even if you are older than 24.
Problem #1: Impaction
Impacted teeth don't erupt above the gums at all. You may not even realize that there are wisdom teeth back there unless you get an x-ray or feel pain. The problem with impacted teeth is that they aren't always positioned properly in your jaw, so the roots could grow into a nerve or sideways, instead of into the lower jaw as they should. This can result in major pain or even damage to neighboring teeth.
Problem #2: Partial Eruption
There isn't always room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to fully emerge from the gums. This means that bacteria can get lodged inside the gums around the partially emerged wisdom teeth, since you can't access these areas when brushing. This can lead to gum disease, cavities, and bone infections. Partially erupted wisdom teeth almost always require removal so that these issues don't occur.
Problem #3: Bite Issues
Even fully emerged, apparently healthy wisdom teeth can cause a problem. They may push teeth forward, resulting in an over- or under-bite. The position of the teeth may only change slightly, but enough to compromise your bite so that jaw pain or problems chewing develop. In this case, tooth removal and possible realignment with braces is necessary.
Problem #4: Hygiene Concerns
Proper hygiene is paramount, and it isn't always possible once the wisdom teeth make their way in. They may be too close to their neighboring teeth, making it difficult to floss and brush between them. There are also concerns with proper eruption, which can impact how well you can clean around the teeth. Finally, it may be just too difficult to reach into the tight corners of your jaw, which can make the area around and behind your wisdom teeth a breeding ground for gum disease and infection.
If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth, especially if you are feeling any pain or discomfort, contact a local dentist to discuss wisdom tooth removal. Although the procedure may not be as easy for an adult, the increased comfort and ease of hygiene afterward make it well worth it.