At some point in our collective human history, we needed our wisdom teeth—the third set of molars in our mouths—to survive. But that day has passed! Most adults, in fact, do not have enough room along their jawlines to accommodate these teeth. So what are we to do?
Our Elmhurst dentists are here to give you some useful information about wisdom teeth, and how they can impact your oral health.
Your wisdom teeth sit in the back of your smile on top right, bottom right, top left, and bottom left. Not all people are born with all four wisdom teeth, but most of us are. These teeth do not emerge when our other teeth do, rather wisdom teeth usually come when the patient is in his or her late teens or early twenties.
The problem is, our mouths rarely have enough space for wisdom teeth to comfortably emerge. Consequently…
· Wisdom teeth become impacted in the bone tissue
· Wisdom teeth only emerge partially
· Wisdom teeth start to put pressure on the patient’s existing smile
· Wisdom teeth attempt to emerge horizontal through the gum tissue
As you’d imagine, this can lead to all sorts of problems:
· Wisdom teeth become magnets for bacterial and infection because they are so difficult to keep clean—this causes cavities as well as gum disease
· Wisdom teeth cause the patient’s existing teeth to move and become misaligned (even if you’ve been through orthodontic treatment!)
· Wisdom teeth cause pain and pressure in the back of the patient’s smile
· Wisdom teeth lead to chronic bad breath due to oral hygiene problems
For many people, the best course of action is to have wisdom teeth removed in a timely manner. Wisdom teeth can be removed whether they are fully emerged, partially emerged, or impacted.
You might notice pressure or pain in the back of your smile as your wisdom teeth start to come in—talk to your dentist when this happens! Our Elmhurst dental team can help you make a treatment plan that will protect your smile.