Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

I vividly remember getting my wisdom teeth removed, not so much because of the pain, but because I somehow managed to gain weight with a liquid diet! I was staying with my Gran at the time and she was the type who was happiest when I couldn’t fit any more food in my stomach. I was in my early 20’s and I can’t remember the exact reason why I had to get all four wisdom teeth removed, but I’ve always orthodontic issues and I guess it was probably just a preventative measure.

Not everyone has wisdom teeth though. Some people don’t have any wisdom teeth, while others may have one or more that can cause a multitude or orthodontic problems. Wisdom teeth are a vestigial third molar that helped our ancestors grind plant tissue. As our ancestor’s mouths were bigger and had more teeth, wisdom teeth were quite helpful back then, but are considered relatively useless nowadays. The roots of wisdom teeth don’t develop until late teenage years, at which time they should be evaluated to ascertain if they’ll cause any damage.

A common question that gets asked at dentists and orthodontic clinics is: do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed? There is a degree of stigma surrounding the issue, as any operation can be quite painful, and the simple answer to this question is – it depends! If your wisdom teeth will cause problems then it’s best they are extracted as soon as possible. Some of the most common problems encountered by wisdom teeth include:

Overcrowding

One of the most common reasons why wisdom teeth need to be removed is because they can cause overcrowding as there’s not enough room in your mouth to accommodate the extra teeth. As a result, your teeth will become misaligned and the easiest option is to remove them as braces simply won’t be able to straighten them. Depending on your individual situation, you may need to remove one or more wisdom teeth to ensure they don’t cause any problems with overcrowding and misalignment.

Incorrect Growth

Sometimes wisdom teeth can grow crooked in your mouth, which can push the rest of your teeth sideways. As our mouths are smaller than our ancestors, there’s not enough room for our wisdom teeth to erupt straight and hence they grow sideways. This can damage other teeth and cause further issues with pain, irritation, and even cysts.

Pain & Irritation

There’s nothing worse than a toothache, and wisdom teeth tend to cause a lot of pain and irritation. Most people will initially discover pain when eating, but this can intensify quickly. If you have wisdom teeth coming through that are causing a lot of pain, contact your orthodontist or dentist straight away for a consultation. In most cases, extraction is the best solution, but in some cases the pain can correct itself with a bit of time and medication.

Cavities

Even when wisdom teeth erupt without causing any problems, they can still have an impact on the cleaning surfaces of other teeth. The position of the wisdom teeth can cause food particles and bacteria to hide, which can lead to the development of cavities, irritation of the gums, and possibly infection. The position of your wisdom teeth can therefore cause other serious problems with your teeth and mouth.

Sinus Issues

While it may be difficult to imagine, wisdom that grow in on the upper jaw can cause sinus problems. This issue arises when wisdom teeth and their roots develop and rub against the sinuses and put pressure on them. While wisdom teeth rarely cause sinus issues, they can be very painful and cause headaches and congestion.

The best approach in determining whether your wisdom teeth need to be removed is to consult your orthodontist or dentist who will take X-rays of your mouth. From these images, they can easily identify if your wisdom teeth will cause problems and therefore require extraction. Clear Smiles Orthodontics on the Gold Coast offer all new patients a free initial consultation, so if you think your wisdom teeth might be cause you any problems, simply phone their staff on 07 5593 3373.

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