Why You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed Even If You Aren’t In Pain
What are wisdom teeth and what purpose do they serve? It seems everyone has to have them extracted, so why do we have them in the first place?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow for some people in their late teens to early twenties. There are some evolutionary theories behind their existence as they are thought to have been used to eat raw meat, vegetables, and roots. But, because our jaws have shrunk over time, there is little room for this extra row of teeth that are not functional and can crowd the mouth, causing issues and pain in the future.
Not everyone experiences pain with the growth of their wisdom teeth, however, so here are some additional reasons that you may need your wisdom teeth removed.
Overcrowding and Incorrect Growth
In many cases, the growth of wisdom teeth can overcrowd the mouth because these teeth take up too much space in the mouth and they can’t be straightened with braces. There is no procedure that can make all the teeth fit in the mouth together so the only option is extraction. A dentist or surgeon determines how many teeth need to be removed in order for the problem to be alleviated. They may remove all of them or just a few.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In some cases, wisdom teeth are “impacted” and don’t have the space to emerge from the gum and develop normally. This can cause jaw pain, swelling or stiffness in the jaw, swollen or bleeding gums, and/or difficulty opening the mouth. Some impacted wisdom teeth won’t show the previously mentioned symptoms but dentists and oral surgeons may still recommend having them removed to avoid future issues.
Pain When Eating
If someone experiences pain while eating, this might be yet another reason to have the wisdom teeth removed. Food can get stuck in between the gums and the teeth and the problem is only worsened when one can’t reach the back of the mouth while brushing in order to remove the trapped food.
Cysts Form Around Your Tooth
A cyst occurs when a sac next to the teeth fills with fluid. If it is left untreated, it can destroy bones, roots, and surrounding structures. If it becomes even more severe, it can turn into a tumor and require additional surgery.
If the wisdom teeth end up growing in crooked, they may cause the other teeth to shift in order to accommodate the new growth, which can cause damage to the other teeth. Extraction can prevent these other teeth from becoming damaged.
Sometimes when wisdom teeth grow in, they create a flap of gum tissue that resides next to the tooth, trapping small food particles and bacteria. The tissue around the tooth can become inflamed and hard, making it even more painful and difficult to clean.
Because of the position that wisdom teeth tend to grow into, they can have a big impact on reaching the cleaning surfaces where bacteria can hide. If the gums become irritated, pockets can develop between the teeth and cause bacteria to grow which can then lead to the development of cavities.
Sinus problems can arise when the wisdom teeth grow in on the upper jaw, the teeth grow and roots develop, pushing against the sinuses and putting pressure on them. It’s not a problem that’s as common as some of the others in this list, but wisdom teeth can cause sinus pain, pressure, headaches, and congestion.
Do You Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Some people can go their entire lives without having their wisdom teeth removed. If they are not causing any problems for you, then you likely don’t need to have them removed. If you do have to have them removed, they may be removed two at a time or all at once.
If you find yourself with any of the signs and symptoms we’ve listed in this article, give us a call. With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Vendetti can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems.