If you’ve never heard of them, “wisdom” teeth may sound like something good. You might even think they have some unique benefits. However, the truth is often the exact opposite — your dentist will probably tell you to consider wisdom tooth removal if you get them.
Assuming you want to learn more, here’s a summary of wisdom teeth and three reasons to get them removed.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
According to the Mayo Clinic, wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to appear or erupt. Specifically, they’re molars in each quadrant of your mouth — the lower right, upper right, lower left, and upper left. Their name comes from the fact that they usually appear when you’re older, between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. They also tend to occur in only a fraction of the population.
Unlike other teeth, wisdom teeth often have trouble fitting in your mouth. Consequently, there’s a good chance they’ll get stuck below the gums and become impacted. If that happens, they won’t have enough room to grow normally and will cause complications.
Why Wisdom Teeth Should Be Removed
Dentists recommend you get your wisdom teeth removed to prevent them from impacting and thus creating oral health issues. The most common issues they look to stop are infection, cyst formation, and damage to surrounding teeth.
To Prevent Infection
Without enough room for a total eruption, wisdom teeth can irritate and infect surrounding gum tissue. Known as pericoronitis, this infection results in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and swallowing.
To Avoid Cyst Formation
Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to cysts, fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jawbone that destroy surrounding bone tissue. These balloons can be difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth aren’t removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can also come about from delayed wisdom tooth removal.
To Avert Adjacent Tooth Damage
When a wisdom tooth can’t emerge properly, the second molar —the tooth in front of it —can be adversely affected. This adjacent tooth damage can then bring about gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and even tooth decay.
Given the reasons above, extraction is often the best approach when dealing with wisdom teeth. Talk to your dentist about treatment options to keep your own from causing problems in the future.
About the Practice
Los Gatos Dental Group is based in Los Gatos, CA. Led by Drs. Diercks and Karamardian, they’re a dental practice that offers comfortable and comprehensive dental care. Their services include preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, including wisdom tooth extractions. Their work has even earned them the Best of Los Gatos Award for Dentistry’ for six years in a row! For more information or to book an appointment, they can be reached at their website or by phone at (408)-402-0900.