“Do my wisdom teeth need to be taken out?” This is a question that almost every young adult or 20-something asks his or her dentist. Wisdom teeth are one of the most common teeth that need to be removed, and for a variety of reasons.
Teeth are only partially erupted
Wisdom teeth may only be able to come in part of the way, leaving an opening through the gumlines but only a small amount of the tooth actually erupted. This means that food and plaque debris can enter its way under the gumlines and cause severe infection around the wisdom tooth (as well as adjacent teeth.)
The teeth are impacted against adjacent teeth
An impacted wisdom tooth places pressure against the adjacent teeth that they are slanted into. This can cause all of the teeth throughout the mouth to become impacted, or just damage to the tooth that is next to the wisdom tooth. Those teeth can suffer from bone loss, tooth resorption, infection, or decay. Many dentists will proactively remove wisdom teeth so as to prevent damage to the other teeth if there is evidence that the tooth is impacted.
The wisdom teeth are in all the way, but are becoming diseased
It can be very difficult to keep wisdom teeth clean, even if they are in all of the way. Even perfectly straight wisdom teeth can be impossible to brush or floss around, due to the anatomy of the mouth and jaws. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease to develop, which is known to spread to the next tooth if left untreated.
Are you at risk for any of these conditions? Ask your dentist to check on the development of your wisdom teeth to find out!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mark Rowe, Rowe Family Dental Care
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