Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 21, which are historically viewed as the “wisdom years”, though many parents may debate that belief. These teeth may have served our ancient ancestors, but today wisdom teeth can cause several problems, and there are many reasons to have them removed.
- To Prevent Future Problems. Proactively removing wisdom teeth can help prevent problems later on. The extraction procedure is also easier for a late teen than it is an adult because the bones in the mouth become harder as we age. In addition, the younger you are the faster you heal, which reduces recovery time.
- Overcrowding. When perfectly straight teeth start to shift out of alignment, it is probably a sign that the wisdom teeth have erupted, or that they soon will. Not only does this cause cosmetic issues, it can also lead to issues of misaligned bites and cavities due to difficulty in keeping crowded teeth clean. This overcrowding cannot be resolved with braces since there is simply no room for the additional teeth, and the best course of care is removal.
- Pain and Hot/Cold Sensitivity. Mouth pain is often a sign that the wisdom teeth are coming in and will need to be extracted. Usually, this pain worsens when chewing. In addition, a new sensitivity to hot and cold foods can be a sign that it’s time for these teeth to go.
- The Tooth is Impacted. It is common for wisdom teeth to come in crooked because there isn’t enough room in the mouth. For people who already have crooked teeth, there is no guarantee that the wisdom teeth will be at the same angle. Sometimes there are no symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth but many people experience tenderness, swelling, gum infections and more. If left in place, the impacted teeth may cause jaw issues and other serious problems.
- Sinus Issues. In some instances, the wisdom teeth in the upper jaw can put pressure on the sinuses. As the roots of the teeth grow, they can push or rub against them, resulting in sinus pain, pressure, headaches and congestion.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, but if there are current issues or risk of future ones, it is best to have this procedure as soon as possible. Often all four teeth are removed at the same time to avoid the need for a second appointment.
If you are concerned about the wisdom teeth of you or your child, speak with Dr. Petrone or Dr. Proctor about the situation. They will review the dental x-rays, complete an exam and make a recommendation. If you have any other questions about oral health, dental procedures, preventative care and more, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Petrone Family Dentistry is your partner in maintaining your oral health, and is always here to help.