You may have heard that wisdom teeth should be removed, but do you know why? If you are feeling nervous at the thought of getting oral surgery, learn what really happens when you don’t have adult wisdom teeth removed.
Existing teeth become crowded
Most people can only fit 28 teeth in their mouth. When you have a full set of average-sized teeth, there is no room for wisdom teeth to emerge. If the wisdom teeth do emerge in a mouth that does not have room, your teeth are crowded and the result is uncomfortable– kind of like trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that are one size too small.
Damage to existing teeth
Wisdom teeth trying to grow in a crowded mouth may push in, causing your teeth to grow in different directions. Not only does this damage your teeth but it can affect the appearance of your smile. As your teeth migrate, your bite can become misaligned and you can experience pain when chewing. As you can imagine this is more painful and more expensive to fix than simply having your wisdom teeth removed, so if your dentist thinks you need wisdom teeth removal you should probably go ahead. We promise, it’s not as bad as you think.
Cysts often form around newly emerging wisdom teeth. Cysts cause nerve damage, damage to the roots of your teeth, and jaw infections. Additionally, they may change the shape of your jaw.
When your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, they can cause inflammation of the gums, which negatively affects overall health. Swollen gums have folds and pockets, which are hard to clean even when you brush and floss regularly. The problem compounds when bacteria become stuck in the inflamed area. Pericoronitis, a type of gum infection, can develop as a result. As your gums swell, it can create folds and pockets that are hard to clean even if you brush and floss regularly. So once your gums are inflamed, things will only worsen until you deal with the underlying cause — impacted wisdom teeth that need to be removed.
When gum inflammation and bacteria are present, the underlying conditions are ripe for tooth decay. Tooth decay is not only painful, but it can cause other health conditions, too. Fluoride treatments may help in the early stages, however, once teeth begin to decay, you’re looking at crowns, fillings, or extractions. Again, the better course of action is to have the wisdom teeth removed to protect your overall oral health.
Some people are able to keep their wisdom teeth, either because they have not erupted or because their mouth is not crowded due to smaller-sized teeth. Our Tampa dentist can check out your wisdom teeth and your overall oral health and let you know whether you should have wisdom teeth removed. Our sedation techniques make the process gentle on your end if you do need wisdom teeth removal.