What are some of the more common conditions caused by issues with wisdom teeth?

  1. Impacted teeth
    Impacted teeth can occur when the wisdom teeth cannot come in because they are blocked, usually by teeth that are crowded or in the way, or the wisdom tooth is still underneath the bone. Wisdom teeth can also be tilted under the gum so that they essentially grow in the wrong direction. The tooth being blocked or growing in sideways can cause pain, but many feel nothing at all and may not be aware that there is an issue. Your dentist can look for this on an X-ray and determine if you have impacted wisdom teeth.
  2. Pericoronitis
    Periapical or Apical Pericoronitis is inflammation around the tip or peak of the root of your tooth. This inflammation is most commonly caused by bacteria in the pulp of the tooth and will typically require that a tooth extraction. Pericoronitis can happen with any tooth but is often a cause for the need to remove your wisdom teeth. While it is not always painful, you may experience sensitivity and noticeable inflammation of the gum surrounding the infected tooth, so be mindful of this if you know that you still have your wisdom teeth and you start to experience any swelling or discomfort.

How do I know if I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

As is the case for most dental concerns, regularly scheduled dental visits are essential so that your dentist can take X-rays, be familiar with your dental health, and follow the progress of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist will be able to spot any concerns and develop the plan that is right for you.

Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing any issues or pain, they may cause problems in the future, including decay, infection, and crowding or damage to your other teeth. Be most mindful of the teeth next to your wisdom teeth, as they are more prone to developing gum problems.

While more severe symptoms can occur, as long as you are going to regular dental visits and communicating with your dentist, you both should be able to manage your dental care in a healthy and proactive way. By being proactive, you can make this decision earlier rather than later. Having the procedure when you are younger, or at least before significant concerns arise will ease the recovery process from surgery. The younger you are, the teeth roots will not have not fully developed yet, and the bone around the teeth is less dense. And, as with most surgeries, younger patients tend to heal faster and with fewer complications.

Be proactive, visit your dentist regularly. Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a common dental procedure and issue. If you stay on top of it you can get the procedure done and be on your way to keeping you and your smile happy and healthy.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.