Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars to develop in the human mouth. They typically appear in the late teenage years or early twenties. Many people will have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth and in some cases you may be congenitally missing one or all four teeth.
If your wisdom teeth erupt completely in your mouth, they can be used to function and grind food. However, if they do not erupt properly, they can also cause a number of problems. Patients often ask us when should I remove my wisdom teeth? Let's explore the common causes of wisdom teeth problems, the symptoms you may experience, and what you can do to prevent and treat these issues.
What Causes Wisdom Teeth Problems?
The main reason wisdom teeth can cause problems is that they often don't have enough space to grow completely in your jaw. This can result in them becoming impacted, or partially or fully trapped beneath the gum.
5 signs of wisdom teeth problems, including:
Infection: If the wisdom teeth are partially or fully trapped beneath the gum line, they can create a pocket where bacteria can accumulate, leading to infection and inflammation. The common dental term your dentist may refer to is pericornitis.
Crowding: Wisdom teeth that emerge in a crowded mouth can push surrounding teeth out of alignment, leading to misalignment and tooth crowding.
Decay: Wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean properly, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Cysts or tumors: In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth can cause the formation of cysts or tumors that can damage the surrounding teeth and bone.
What Are the Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Problems?
Some people with impacted wisdom teeth may not experience any symptoms at all, while others may experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Pain or tenderness in the back of the mouth
Swelling or redness around the gums
Difficulty opening the mouth
A bad taste or odor in the mouth
Difficulty or pain when chewing
Headaches or earaches
Fever or other signs of infection
How Can You Prevent and Treat Wisdom Teeth Problems?
The best way to prevent wisdom teeth problems is to have regular dental check-ups, where your dentist can monitor the growth and development of your wisdom teeth and recommend treatment if necessary. In some cases, your dentist may recommend that your wisdom teeth be removed before they cause problems.
If you are experiencing symptoms of wisdom teeth problems, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Antibiotics: If you have an infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help clear it up.
Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol can help relieve pain and inflammation.
Extraction: In cases where the wisdom teeth are causing persistent problems, your dentist may recommend extraction. This can be done under local anesthesia, and the recovery time is usually a few days to a week.
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to develop in the human mouth, and they can cause a range of problems if they don't emerge properly. If you are experiencing symptoms of wisdom teeth problems, it's important to seek treatment from your dentist to prevent further complications. With proper care and attention, you can keep your wisdom teeth and your oral health in top shape!