Wisdom teeth get their name for a pretty specific reason – because they come into our lives at a time when we think we have all the wisdom (hint: when we’re teenagers).
But as our dentists in Downey, CA understand – true wisdom is knowing when to ask the right questions. Recently, one of the questions we received from a patient was one such good question and it centered around whether you really need to get your wisdom teeth removed at all.
Because the truth is – some lucky patients don’t. But approximately 85% of patients need do have at least one wisdom tooth extracted in their lifetime.
Fortunately, this is pretty straightforward for dentists. If your wisdom teeth aren’t impacted or posing a problem for other teeth then you probably don’t need to have them out. Otherwise, if you’re like around 85% of the population – there could be some complications if you don’t get them out.
Impacted wisdom teeth are simply teeth that have failed to erupt. And an erupted tooth is the same as a tooth that “came in.” When teeth don’t “come in” right, it can happen for a few different reasons. First, there might not be enough room for the jaw to actually support the tooth. Or, the tooth could be blocked from erupted by other teeth that are in the way. And a third potential cause can be that the angle of the tooth isn’t quite right.
How do I know?
Fortunately, impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause symptoms. But – when they cause a problem, the symptoms will be fairly noticeable. They can range from red, swollen, and potentially bleeding gums – on top of soreness and pain in your jaw. They can also be accompanied by a bad taste in your mouth and bad breath (this is often a sign of infection).
Many times, your dentist can catch problematic wisdom teeth before any of these symptoms arise. But this can only happen if you see your dentist regularly and keep your x-rays up-to-date (as much as possible).
Need to deal with wisdom teeth in Southeast Los Angeles? Our dentists in Downey can help.