Getting your wisdom teeth removed is an inconvenient part of life for many people. Though precise data is limited, it's estimated that 80 percent of young adults experience problems with their wisdom teeth and have to eventually have them extracted. Even with this high rate of extraction, many people do not know why these teeth must be removed and they rightfully have a lot of questions. Here are a few key reasons why your wisdom teeth may be a problem for you.
Over Crowding and Impacted Teeth
Wisdom teeth, a third set of molars at the very back of the mouth, do not generally come in until young adulthood. Because all of your teeth have already come in, there may not be enough room in your mouth for these teeth. When your mouth is already too crowded or your jaw is simply not big enough, wisdom teeth may be forced to come in at odd angles. If wisdom teeth do not come in straight, they can push against other teeth, weakening their roots. They may also become impacted, which can cause pain and infection.
Preventing Long Term Issues
Sometimes erupted wisdom teeth do not immediately cause any pain or discomfort, but lead to severe dental damage in the long run. For instance, individuals who are prone to dental problems like gum disease or soft teeth will also face a higher risk of medical issues if they wish to keep their wisdom teeth due to the teeth's out-of-reach placement and gum irritation.
Leaving wisdom teeth to sit below the surface of the gums can also be very risky. According to oral surgery specialists, if left unattended, these never-surfaced or impacted wisdom teeth can lead to periodontal disease, teeth shifting, and oral tumors that can cause damage to the jaw and other healthy teeth.
When Wisdom Teeth Do Not Cause a Problem
Though many individuals will need wisdom teeth extraction, it's good to know when these teeth do not pose a problem. Wisdom teeth should be left alone if they are healthy, fully erupted (grown in), properly aligned, and easily accessible for daily oral hygiene. If it seems like your wisdom teeth are coming in straight and your mouth has enough room, dentists may decide not to extract them. However, any individual that does keep their wisdom teeth needs to be very vigilant to cleaning and caring for these molars.
If you have been told you need your wisdom teeth removed but you think they may not cause a problem for you, contact an oral surgeon for a consultation and second opinion.