Adults have a total number of 32 teeth once the wisdom teeth erupt in your late teenage years or early twenties. But because they come out so late when your other permanent teeth have already set in, there’s usually limited space for them to develop properly, resulting in impacted wisdom teeth that not only damage adjacent teeth, but also hide bacteria and increase the risk of infections.
But not all wisdom teeth are troublesome, and only 12% of impacted wisdom teeth tend to become diseased. In fact, dental professionals argue that there’s no need to remove healthy, fully grown in, and correctly positioned wisdom teeth. However, if one or more of your wisdom teeth are causing pain and discomfort, you should visit Dr. Stein for proper diagnosis and removal if need be.
When to remove wisdom teeth
Although removing wisdom teeth can help reduce the risk of complications in future, Dr. Stein only recommends that you proceed with the extraction if:
They are pushing adjacent teeth
Impacted teeth that grow in at an angle tend to push the neighboring teeth and cause overcrowding. This not only causes pain, but also loosens the healthy molars and increases the risk of tooth loss. Moreover, the incompletely erupted teeth tend to form deep pocket that allow food and bacteria to collect, causing infections.
They are causing gum problems
Overcrowded teeth tend to create deep pockets between the teeth that are not easy to clean with regular brushing and flossing. This allows bacterial plaque to build up and cause cavities and gum disease. The situation can be worsened by teeth that erupt through the gums partially (become impacted), as the bacteria can cause infections or cysts in the gums or jawbone. The bacteria can also get into your bloodstream and aggravate health conditions such as heart disease.
Their position is interfering with jaw movement
If the wisdom teeth erupt in such a way that they cause you to bite or scrape your cheek and other soft tissues, or if they cause the surrounding gums to swell and make it painful to open your mouth or chew, then they should be removed.
It you’re conflicted about getting your wisdom teeth removed, please visit Dr. Stein in Lancaster for a proper diagnosis that will include taking X-rays to check the position of your teeth and determine whether they need to be extracted.