Wisdom teeth are just like any other teeth. They are normal molar teeth that just happen to be the last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. Wisdom teeth aren’t always a problem if you have enough space in your mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth in good alignment. However, many of us don’t have sufficient space for our wisdom teeth, and that is when problems can occur.
When a wisdom tooth has only enough space to partly come into the mouth, a wisdom tooth can cause gum and bone inflammation which people often experience as repeated episodes of pain (pericoronitis). This painful inflammation sadly happens when we are stressed (because of work, school … or life), which is pretty inconvenient. An antibacterial mouthrinse or a course of antibiotics might reduce the severity of the symptoms, but will not stop the problem from coming back. This situation also leaves the wisdom tooth and the tooth in front of it vulnerable to tooth decay because the area cannot be effectively cleaned.
When there is absolutely no room for wisdom teeth to come into the mouth, the wisdom teeth can become impacted (stuck) against the molar teeth that are in front of the wisdom tooth. In this situation, there is a risk of jaw fracture (in sporting or other accidents) and the development of cysts or benign tumours around the wisdom teeth.
When wisdom teeth have enough space to come through into the mouth, they can sometimes be difficult to clean because they are so far back in the mouth. Wisdom teeth also often have extra grooves (fissures) on their surfaces, which trap plaque and increase the risk of tooth decay. If a wisdom tooth repeatedly causes decay problems for you, you might be better off without it.
We often have patients ask us, “My wisdom teeth aren’t causing me any pain, so why should I do anything about them?” Fair question. The answer really comes down to the probability of your wisdom teeth causing problems in future, and often that probability is high. If wisdom teeth look likely to cause problems in future it’s often best to have the wisdom teeth removed while you are young, fit and healthy, because if you experience wisdom teeth troubles in later life, the procedures to manage the wisdom teeth will be more complex and your recovery will be more difficult.
Wisdom teeth are usually assessed using a panoramic dental x-ray film. Some wisdom teeth can be managed by a General Dentist, but many wisdom teeth are better managed by a specialist Oral Surgeon. Dental On Clarke can recommend excellent Surgeons who will take great care of you and make your wisdom teeth experience as smooth as possible.
When it comes to wisdom teeth it pays to plan ahead, so talk to your Dentist. It may never be easier to have your wisdom teeth managed and to avoid future problems than right now.