Did you know each one of your teeth has a specific purpose? For example, front teeth are excellent at tearing food into pieces, while molars are better at grinding food into small bits. However, because modern foods are easier to chew, wisdom teeth are no longer needed. That’s part of the reason why approximately 10 million wisdom teeth are removed each year, according to research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In fact, leaving wisdom teeth in your smile can lead to oral health trouble in certain circumstances. Keep reading to discover three compelling reasons for wisdom tooth removal in Dallas.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are molars that grow at the very back of the gums. In general, most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of their mouth. While most permanent teeth grow between ages six and thirteen, wisdom teeth – also known as third molars – usually erupt during the late teenage years or early twenties.
By the time wisdom teeth are ready to grow in, many people do not have enough space left in their smiles. For this reason, third molars often remain stuck under the gum line or erupt at odd angles, which can lead to oral health problems. Wisdom teeth that don’t have enough room to grow or develop normally are called “impacted” teeth.
Why Must Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Here are three common reasons wisdom teeth must be removed:
Damage to nearby teeth
Wisdom teeth can cause crowding which makes it difficult to properly clean adjacent teeth. If you can’t floss between your teeth or reach the nooks and crannies of your smile with your toothbrush, your teeth may be more likely to be affected by gum disease, tooth decay, and bone loss.
The gum tissue around impacted wisdom teeth can easily become irritated and infected. This type of localized gum infection, known as pericoronitis, can cause persistent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.
Cysts, small fluid-filled sacks, are another common outcome of impacted wisdom teeth. If a cyst on your gums is allowed to grow, it can cause serious damage to nearby tooth roots. A neglected cyst may even destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
Do Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?
While many people choose to get their wisdom teeth removed, not all third molars must be extracted. If your wisdom teeth grow at an upright and functional angle and do not cause any pain, wisdom tooth removal in Dallas may not be necessary.
However, if you are between the ages of 16 and 19, it’s a good idea to schedule a wisdom teeth evaluation with your dentist. Even if your wisdom teeth are not causing you discomfort at the moment, that could change in the future. That’s why you should take action now, while your tooth roots are probably less developed, instead of waiting until you are older.
Protect your oral health and prevent potential complications by scheduling a wisdom tooth consultation this summer.
About the Author
Dr. Cameron Wendling has nearly a decade of experience and completed advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern. He regularly extracts troublesome third molars at Texas Wisdom Teeth. To learn more about wisdom tooth removal in Dallas, visit the Texas Wisdom Teeth website or call 972-960-1111.