You take care of your teeth.
But for some reason, your jaw hurts.
In fact, it’s throbbing…
You visit your dentist to see what’s wrong. That’s when you discover your problems are due to a wisdom tooth. Your dentist recommends surgery to remove it. Yikes.
So what should you do?
Read on to get all the facts about wisdom teeth and learn about your options…
What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are your third molars and located at the very back of your upper and lower jaw. They get their name because they often appear when you’re in your late teens to early twenties – old enough when you’ve gained some experience and ‘wisdom.’ However, not everyone will get wisdom teeth and some people are born without them.
Why wisdom teeth may be a problem
Wisdom teeth can be problematic if they can’t grow out properly. A wisdom tooth is ‘impacted’ if it gets stuck in your gums and is unable to reach its normal position (for example, because its tilted or another tooth is blocking it). Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful and cause problems with chewing, swollen gums, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth.
Wisdom teeth can also be partially impacted – meaning the tooth has broken through your gums. Partially impacted wisdom teeth can cause cavities and gum disease because they are more difficult to clean.
Most people who have problems with wisdom teeth are between the ages of 15 to 25 years old. People over 30 are less likely to have issues; however, it’s not uncommon for people to need surgery to remove their wisdom teeth even in their 40s or 50s.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Generally, it’s best to have impacted wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 16 to 20. The reason is they’re easier to remove because your bones and roots are still soft and developing. As you age, the bones surrounding your teeth harden, making them harder to remove and making surgery more risky. Also your gums and tissue will take longer to heal as you get older.
Risks of having wisdom teeth removed
As with any surgery, there are always risks. After your wisdom teeth are removed you may experience:
• Pain and swelling in the area where your tooth was extracted
• Bleeding that may last 24 hours
• Difficulty opening your jaw
• Dry socket, which causes discomfort and happens when one of the blood clots in the open tooth socket becomes dislodged.
• Nerve damage - under the roots of your teeth, there’s a nerve in your jawbone which can potentially become injured if the impacted wisdom tooth isn’t removed correctly. Damage to the nerve can cause your lower lip to become numb.
What are your options?
Realize not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Some people have enough room in their jaw for wisdom teeth to grow. If impacted wisdom teeth aren’t causing you problems, there’s no reason why you ‘have to’ remove them. But keep in mind that not all wisdom teeth cause pain and you may not even realize you have them. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist regularly so he can examine you and check for potential problems.
The dental professionals here at Market Street Dental are experienced of dealing with a wide variety of teeth problems. Contact out office today at 519-756-2510 and we would be happy to help you with your dental needs.