orthodontist chairGetting your wisdom teeth in is often viewed as a rite of passage. For most people, wisdom teeth come in between the ages of 17 and 25. However, this process is often not without problems, and many orthodontists today will recommend having your wisdom teeth removed — even if they are not yet causing issues.

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Everyone’s mouth is different. Some people will have plenty of room for wisdom teeth to grow, while others may end up with cramped or crowded teeth. A few will never develop wisdom teeth at all. But what types of problems can lead to the removal of wisdom teeth?

Not enough room to grow

In some cases, growing wisdom teeth can remain completely hidden by the gums. In orthodontics terms, this is called an impacted tooth. Serious problems can develop from having an impacted tooth, including an infection or a type of cyst that can damage your other teeth and roots.

Partial emergence

Wisdom teeth that don’t emerge fully from the gums present a different set of problems. A partially emerged wisdom tooth is hard to see, and harder to brush. This creates a magnet area for bacteria to gather, often causing oral infections or gum disease.

Teeth are too crowded

In cases where there simply isn’t enough room on the jaw for wisdom teeth to grow, the emerging teeth can crowd and misalign, or even cause damage to, nearby teeth.

In addition to oral infections and alignment issues, improperly developing wisdom teeth can lead to inflamed or swollen gums, cavities, sinus issues such as pain and congestion, or jaw and nerve damage.

Signs That Your Wisdom Teeth Should Be Removed

Problematic wisdom teeth often prevent several warning symptoms that can alert you to the issue. Some of the most common signs of wisdom teeth problems include:

  • Pain
  • Tooth damage
  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs)
  • Tumors
  • Repeated soft tissue infections
  • Damage to surrounding teeth

Should You Keep Your Wisdom Teeth?

Not all people develop problems with their wisdom teeth. However, the issues are common enough that an orthodontist may recommend having your healthy wisdom teeth removed if it appears there will be a problem, before the issue can fully develop. This is because as you age, the bones in your mouth harden, which makes the process of tooth removal more difficult.

Dr. Foley provides professional and caring orthodontic consultations and wisdom tooth removal in London Ontario. If you suspect problems with your wisdom teeth, contact Dr. Foley’s office or come in and visit today!