Your third molars are the last teeth to arrive on the scene. They typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 21, when you’re presumably more savvy, which is how they got their nickname “wisdom teeth.”
But many jaws are too small to accommodate four more teeth, so this new set causes oral health problems rather than serving a useful purpose.
That said, not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted. At St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants in Covington and Slidell, Louisiana, Dr. Caesar Sweidan and our team of dental experts evaluate wisdom teeth individually.
We never recommend unnecessary procedures, so if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing any problems, we simply help you care for them like the rest of your teeth.
But if you experience the downside of these late arrivals, wisdom tooth extraction may be the best move. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect.
If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, the procedure may involve one, two, three, or all four of them, depending on your symptoms and the condition and position of your teeth.
You’ll feel some discomfort for a few days as the extraction site heals, but it’s worth it, because the upside of wisdom tooth removal is considerable. Here are a few of the benefits:
Often, wisdom teeth come in at an odd angle and push against your back molars. This pressure can weaken your existing teeth and damage their roots, putting them at risk for decay and bone loss.
By the time your wisdom teeth come in, the rest of your teeth have already taken up the available space in your jaw, and there’s often no room left for the newcomers.
In this case, your wisdom teeth crowd in and push the rest of your teeth out of alignment, which may necessitate orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners.
Some wisdom teeth grow in only partially and peek just above the surface of your gums. These are called impacted wisdom teeth, and they’re a nightmare to keep clean. They provide an ideal hiding place and breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to tooth decay and cavities.
Impacted wisdom teeth also wreak havoc on your gums. If the gums around your wisdom teeth become inflamed and infected, the bacteria can easily damage your nerve endings in the area and also enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
If your wisdom teeth grow in at an angle or become impacted, they may develop small infected pockets called cysts. These can appear on the surface of your gums and look like blemishes, or they can occur deeper, along the tooth root.
Although rare, impacted wisdom teeth can also cause benign tumors to develop in your jaw. If so, it may require surgery to remove the tumor and any affected bone tissue.
Wisdom teeth can be painful. Whether they’re pressing against neighboring teeth or irritating your gums, you can feel the pain in your mouth, jaw, face, and your ears. Wisdom teeth are even the culprit behind some types of headaches.
To find out whether your wisdom teeth are just fine or are causing problems, schedule an appointment for a full evaluation and an honest recommendation. Contact our friendly staff at either of our two locations in Covington or Slidell, Louisiana.