Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The human mouth has evolved over the centuries, getting smaller due to lifestyle changes. No longer do we need strong teeth to chomp and chew tough foods as hunters and gatherers. Today, by the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth, but in many cases, there is not enough room to accommodate the third set of molars, affectionately called the wisdom teeth. Over ten million wisdom teeth are extracted every year in the United States, and 85 percent of adults need to have their wisdom teeth extracted belvidere Illinois during their lifetime.
The Reason for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
There is no rule that says you need to extract a wisdom tooth that has erupted, especially if you have space in your mouth. You may choose removal even if your wisdom teeth do not cause problems to avoid complications down the road. If you put off removal because you are not having any symptoms, you might need to eventually schedule removal. Wisdom teeth tend to cause problems the longer they remain in the mouth.
Common complications associated with wisdom teeth include:
- Tooth pain- Pain is a common sign of emerging wisdom teeth. The gums may hurt for a few days, and then the pain subsides. This can happen on and off over some time. Pain can gradually increase to the point where it becomes difficult to chew and is often due to the tooth pressing on the nerves in the mouth.
- Swelling and redness- Along with pain, signs of an emerging wisdom tooth include redness or swelling in the gums around your third molars.
- Impacted tooth- Sometimes, your jawbone and other teeth prevent the wisdom teeth from coming in, and the teeth remain trapped beneath the gum line. This can cause severe pain. You can also develop a cyst in the back of your mouth.
- Oral infections- As your wisdom teeth emerge, bacteria can get trapped in your gums, leading to an oral infection. Signs of an infection include pain, redness, swelling, tenderness in your jaw, bad breath, or a foul taste in your mouth.
- Cavities- Food can get stuck in the gums around the third molars, which will cause a cavity on your emerging third molar. Teeth in front of the wisdom teeth can also get cavities because there is not enough room to brush or floss properly.
- Shifting teeth- When there is not enough space in your mouth for wisdom teeth, other teeth can shift out of their natural place as these teeth emerge. Your teeth now become misaligned or crooked.
When to Consider a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If you have pain or see an emerging wisdom tooth, schedule an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist can take X-rays to determine how many wisdom teeth you have and the room available.
If you are experiencing discomfort or other problems, your dentist may recommend wisdom teeth extraction. This will help reduce the risk of complications such as:
- Shifting teeth and misalignment
- Damaging infections
- Bone loss
- Nerve pain
- The development of cavities
If your wisdom teeth are not causing you any problems, your dentist may monitor your teeth and recommend removal later. Wisdom teeth removal does become harder later in life.