Santa Monica Family Dentist
Wisdom Tooth Removal
About 10 million wisdom teeth are removed each year from 5 million people. Oral surgery to remove wisdom teeth is a standard procedure that is practiced every day. After visiting your dentist, he or she may recommend to get your wisdom teeth removed. However, you may wonder why you need them removed even though they don’t cause pain.
Just because your wisdom teeth are not a source of pain doesn’t mean that there is nothing wrong. Most of the time, wisdom teeth need to be removed because they don’t have room to grow properly and may cause problems. Other reasons include:
Damage to other teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can shift other teeth as they continue to grow. This can undo the effects of braces, crowns, bridges and partial dentures. It can also cause mouth pain and bite problems.
Sinus issues: Problems with wisdom teeth can lead to sinus pain, pressure and congestion.
Jaw damage: Impacted wisdom teeth may develop cysts or tumors. If they aren’t treated, they can hollow out your jaw and cause damage to nerves.
Inflamed gums: Because there is limited space for wisdom teeth to erupt, infection and inflammation may be common. Gum disease and inflammation can lead to receding gum tissues, deterioration of the jawbone and tooth loss.
Cavities: Your wisdom teeth are more susceptible to cavities since it is more difficult to clean them. Bacteria can grow, which causes cavities to form.
Before deciding on getting your wisdom teeth removed, your dentist will look at the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth. In addition, he or she will take x-rays to determine the growth pattern of your wisdom teeth.
There is no age limit to getting your wisdom teeth removed but as you get older, surgery and recovery can be more difficult. In most instances, you can wait several months to see if anything changes in your wisdom teeth before making a final decision. However, if you experience pain or swelling near the back of your teeth, contact your dentist for a consultation.