Your final set of teeth to erupt are frequently referred to as “wisdom teeth”. Technically they are your third molars, erupting several years after your other permanent teeth develop.
Unfortunately, the location at the back of your mouth makes wisdom teeth more susceptible to infections. Many of the oral problems caused by wisdom teeth can affect the healthy teeth around them. As such, one of the most common causes of wisdom tooth removal is strictly for prevention.
Oral Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
Pain or Toothaches
Wisdom teeth often cause pain, swelling, and infection. Your risk of discomfort increases if your wisdom teeth become impacted within the bone or neighboring tooth. The toothache can feel dull or persistent and may come and go at random times.
When a tooth is about to erupt the gums at that space to become swollen. But wisdom teeth can also develop cysts or tumors around them, increasing swelling inside of the jaw or side of the face. Normal swelling will subside over time, but you can temporarily relieve symptoms by rinsing with warm saltwater and taking an anti-inflammatory medication, such as Motrin or ibuprofen. However, swelling that’s caused by cysts will need to be addressed by surgically removing those teeth.
Other Teeth Beginning to Shift
Your overall smile and tooth alignment may be affected by wisdom teeth. Since third molars can push and press against other teeth if there isn’t enough space, it can cause shifting and movement of your overall smile. Crowding of the lower front teeth can be very common. If you wore braces in the past, this complication could cause relapse and require orthodontic treatment to correct. If you notice crowding or tooth movement, it’s best to have your impacted wisdom teeth removed at your earliest opportunity.
Food Gets Caught When You Eat
It’s easy for food to get stuck around a partially erupted wisdom tooth. Since partially impacted/erupted wisdom teeth may not be able to break through your gums as they should, it can lead to food and plaque getting trapped around them. In turn, you will be at greater risk for cavities and periodontitis. It’s not only a matter of your wisdom teeth getting infected but also the health of the adjacent teeth. Proactive removal of your wisdom teeth will reduce your chances of bone loss or developing additional cavities. Our dentist in Kearny Mesa can help you with early screenings during your regular six-month checkups.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Food and bacteria that get trapped around your wisdom teeth will eventually contribute to bad breath. Halitosis is also common if periodontal infections are present. A foul odor can also be due to an abscess, or cavity in a neighboring tooth. Because of their location, it may not be possible to floss or brush around wisdom teeth effectively. In the meantime, we recommend using a water flosser to clean difficult-to-reach areas like these. However, chronic bad breath caused by wisdom teeth is best managed by having those molars removed.
Wisdom Tooth Exam
During your wisdom tooth evaluation, our dentist (Kearny Mesa) will take an X-ray of your jaw, where we can see exactly where each of your wisdom teeth is positioned. This image shows all of the structures around the teeth, including the bone. If you haven’t had one taken in the last 3-5 years, it may be time for a new one to track changes in your wisdom tooth development. As we monitor your symptoms, we will advise you as to whether or not oral surgery is recommended.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions Kearny Mesa
At first, an impacted wisdom tooth may not cause any symptoms. But over time, they can lead to a chain reaction of complications throughout your smile, not to mention discomfort. Wisdom tooth extraction is often the best option for your comfort and long-term oral health. To schedule a consultation to discuss your wisdom teeth, contact Landmark Dental Arts today.