Know some facts about wisdom teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last molars that erupt in the mouth. They follow the first molars and second molars. Though they are basically empty at birth, they do contain cells that later develop into adult teeth.

Pressure in the mouth can cause wisdom teeth to move, causing pain and discomfort. This is known as impacted wisdom teeth — and it’s something our dentists are often asked about.

Unfortunately, it’s common for wisdom teeth to misalign with other teeth in the mouth. In fact, this condition is so common that some consider it a dental epidemic!

The good news is that our dentists in Gardena can remove wisdom teeth to avoid future issues.

Symptoms of wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth that are impacted may not cause problems until they become infected. In fact, most people’s wisdom teeth (also called third molars) don’t grow in at all or grow in normally without any issues. But if yours do become stuck, you may experience some of these signs and symptoms:

  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Tender or bleeding gums

Causes of wisdom teeth?

Around the ages of 17 to 25, most people’s wisdom teeth start to come in. For some, the wisdom teeth grow in with no issues and fit nicely behind the second molars. However, for many others, there isn’t enough space in the mouth for the third molars to develop properly. When this happens, the third molars become trapped (impacted).

The ideal time to have wisdom teeth removed is before they emerge from the gums (erupt) because once they break through, there’s no way of knowing what position or shape they’ll be in.

Because many people are unfamiliar with their own mouths, it’s best to visit a dentist near you as soon as you feel something unusual in your mouth.

When is the right time to see a doctor?

When your wisdom teeth are impacted, it can be extremely painful, and you might even lose sleep. The pain will only get worse if the tooth isn’t extracted by a dentist.

If you’re experiencing pain and swelling near your third molars, consider visiting your nearby dentist.

Complications involved in wisdom teeth

Tooth damage

If wisdom teeth grow at an angle, they could damage the surrounding teeth. It creates a high risk of infection since the gums are so close to the teeth. They can cause pressure on your other teeth and force them to become crowded or require orthodontic treatment to straighten them out.

Decay

Wisdom teeth that haven’t fully erupted into their sockets are twice as likely to decay as other teeth. The reason is simple: It’s difficult to keep these teeth clean and food can get trapped between the gum and the tooth.

Cysts

Wisdom teeth develop in oral cavities. They often fill with liquid, creating a cavity. This can damage the jawbone, teeth, and/or nerves. In very rare cases, a tumor will develop from that fluid. Surgery is often needed to remove tissue and bone that contains the tumor.

Gum disease

It’s natural to have some discomfort when you get wisdom teeth removed, especially during the first few days. However, a condition called pericoronitis occurs when food particles or fluids get trapped under your gum tissue. Left untreated, this can lead to a serious infection that can only be treated with antibiotics and could result in serious complications. To avoid this, schedule your wisdom teeth removal during a time when you can take it easy for at least a few days.

Preventions for wisdom teeth

Of course, there’s no sure way to prevent wisdom teeth from becoming impacted, but regular dental checkups can help you track their growth and emergence. Your dentist can even use X-rays to look for signs of potential problems in advance.

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