Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars located in the back of your mouth. These teeth come in during your late teens to early twenties when you’ve finally gained some “wisdom.” It’s become common practice to have wisdom teeth removed, but why? Well, there are a number of problems that are caused by wisdom teeth.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth become impacted because they don’t have enough room to come in or develop normally. Impacted wisdom teeth often result in teeth that grow in at an angle, or don’t completely emerge from the gums. Teeth that don’t emerge fully, or don’t emerge at all, are considered impacted teeth.
Signs and Symptoms that Your Wisdom Teeth are Causing Problems
Some signs that your wisdom teeth are causing you more harm than they’re worth are:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Pain or swelling of the jaw
- Bad breath
- Difficulty opening your mouth
Problems That Arise From Wisdom Teeth
Having impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of problems in your mouth. They may not be properly cleaned because they’re hard to get to, or maybe they’re growing in at a weird angle. Whatever the reason, you should be aware of the problems that can be caused by wisdom teeth:
- Cysts – Wisdom teeth develop in a sac within your jawbone, and if the sac fills with fluid, a cyst will form around the tooth. These cysts can damage other teeth, bones in your jaw, and even the nerves in your mouth.
- Decay – Wisdom teeth are at a higher risk for tooth decay because of their location in your mouth. These third molars are located all the way at the back of your mouth, which can be difficult to clean. Food and bacteria often get stuck back there and causes decay.
- Pain – Not only is it painful when wisdom teeth begin to emerge, but they can cause pain throughout the rest of your mouth as well. The impacted tooth can cause swelling and inflammation which results in pain.
- Gum disease – Because of the location of wisdom teeth, it can be hard to get a toothbrush or floss back there to properly clean. Teeth that can’t be properly cleaned are at a higher risk for developing gum diseases like pericoronitis. Pericoronitis occurs when the gum tissue around your wisdom teeth becomes swollen and infected.
- Damage to other teeth – A wisdom tooth that pushes against the second molar can cause damage or increase infection in that area. Wisdom teeth also cause overcrowding in your mouth that may shift the placement of other teeth which may require further treatment to correct the issue.