Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that are positioned in the very back of our mouths on both our upper and lower jaws. Scientists believe these teeth were necessary for our ancestors to eat tougher foods like nuts, roots, and tough meats.
Nowadays, however, wisdom teeth aren’t necessary for our survival. In fact, they oftentimes cause a myriad of problems that result in 85% of adults having some or all of them removed via oral surgery.
How do you know whether you need wisdom teeth removal? Keep reading to learn the signs that you should think about having your wisdom teeth removed.
1. You’re Experiencing Pain
As wisdom teeth grow in, they oftentimes grow in incorrectly or crooked. Sometimes there isn’t enough room in the mouth to fit the wisdom teeth properly, which can force your teeth and mouth alignment into painful positions.
This can result in jaw pain, tooth pain, headaches, and painful eating or drinking.
Take note of how long you’ve been experiencing this pain. If it’s consistent and/or intense pain that can’t be alleviated by another solution, then it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist about wisdom teeth removal.
2. There’s Damage to Your Teeth
Wisdom teeth often don’t grow in correctly or exactly straight, as was mentioned earlier. This improper growth can cause your other teeth to shift as well as become damaged and overcrowded if your mouth is too small to fit in the new wisdom teeth.
If you’ve had braces or dental work in the past, you don’t want it to be instantly undone because of improper wisdom tooth growth. On top of that, overcrowding damage can’t be fixed with braces or by any other dental procedure.
It’s best to remove the wisdom teeth before they can cause damage to your teeth and jaw.
3. Wisdom Teeth Impaction
Tooth impaction refers to teeth that either grow in partially or do not grow in at all. Tooth impaction most commonly occurs with wisdom teeth, meaning that the wisdom teeth never actually emerge from the gum tissue; they stay impacted underneath the gum.
This can be problematic for a couple of reasons. Impacted wisdom teeth are often growing at the wrong angle, meaning they can grow sideways into your other teeth, or grow directly into your jaw. This can cause pain, swelling, damage to your teeth, and tender gum tissue.
Partially impacted teeth, meaning that they’ve grown in a bit but not completely, can trap food particles, which can give you bad breath and cavities.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms or your dental x-rays show impacted teeth, then you’re a good candidate for wisdom teeth removal.
4. Infection and Gum Disease
Infection of the gums and tissue around the wisdom tooth area can be a sign that that tooth needs to be removed. Infection and swelling around the area of the wisdom teeth can be caused by a number of different issues with the wisdom teeth; ask your dentist if they think it warrants wisdom teeth removal.
Gum disease around the area of the wisdom teeth is another red flag you should look out for. Your dentist will be able to diagnose it quickly, determine whether the cause is your wisdom teeth, and decide whether removal is your best option.
5. You’re Having Sinus Problems
Sinus problems might seem unrelated to your wisdom teeth, but they can be very much connected.
The upper wisdom teeth can sometimes grow upwards into the sinus area. This growth upwards puts pressure on your sinuses, which can cause sinus pain, headaches, and general sinus issues.
Because of the close proximity between the upper teeth and the sinus passages, if your upper wisdom teeth become infected, that infection can easily spread to your sinuses. This can lead to sinus pain, headaches, and inflammation. Removal of some or all of the wisdom teeth might help reduce your sinus problems if your dentist thinks your issues are related to your wisdom teeth.
6. Mouth Cysts Are Forming
Mouth cysts are sacs filled with fluid that can appear on the lip, inner cheek, and gums. Cysts sometimes form around the area of the wisdom teeth.
These cysts can cause damage to your teeth, gum tissue, and even surrounding bone if not treated properly. If you feel them in your mouth or notice them around your wisdom teeth, you definitely need to visit your dentist and ask whether wisdom teeth removal is your best option.
7. Your Dentist Says You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal
Some people experience some of the symptoms and signs that we’ve outlined that push them to get their wisdom teeth removed. But that’s not always the case.
Many people who have their wisdom teeth removed have no pain or symptoms of any kind surrounding their wisdom teeth. If this sounds like you and your dentist is still suggesting you get some or all of your wisdom teeth removed, then it’s a good idea to listen to them.
Dentists are able to tell whether your wisdom teeth will cause you problems in the future by looking at your teeth now, your dental x-rays, your medical history, and the structure of your mouth. Many dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal so that you won’t have to deal with pain or damage in the future.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed isn’t fun by any means, but oftentimes it is necessary. These are some of the major signs that it’s time for you to talk with your dentist about whether wisdom teeth removal is the best plan for you.
If you’re at all worried about any signs or symptoms you have, it can’t hurt to talk with your dentist. It’s better to discuss it with them than to ignore it and cause yourself damage and pain.
If you have any questions or want more information about wisdom teeth removal, or about your oral health in general, contact us. Our dentists and staff can help you with everything from a simple teeth cleaning to a root canal.