You know you need dental work for cavities, infections, broken teeth and other ailments, but you may question the need for oral surgery when you’re not feeling any pain — such as wisdom teeth removal.
Yet every year, 3.5 million wisdom teeth extractions are performed in the United States, according to the University of Michigan.
For many teenagers and young adults, getting wisdom teeth removed is a rite of passage, whether or not they understand the need for it. Though these third molars may be painful for some, the extraction is often more of a preventative measure. The National Center for Biotechnology Information notes that failure to remove the teeth could cause issues later on.
In many cases, one issue leads to another, with a domino effect that could culminate into serious, long-lasting damage.
Whether you find wisdom teeth bothersome or not, here are eight problems that can occur if you don’t address them — and why you may want to take care of them sooner rather than later.
Stubbs Dental notes that a common problem with wisdom teeth is that they become impacted, meaning that they don’t fully grow in. Sometimes wisdom teeth have trouble breaking through the gums, or sometimes they only partially emerge. This can lead to infection, as there are spaces between the gum and the teeth where bacteria can grow.
Damage to other teeth
According to New York University’s Scienceline, anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were necessary for our ancestors’ early diet of coarse, rough food. But with humans and their diets both evolving over time, this extra set of teeth became obsolete.
Because of this evolution, there just isn’t enough room in your mouth for wisdom teeth. WebMD states that these extra molars can crowd other teeth, causing mouth pain and bite problems.
If you’ve ever had braces, you understand the hard work involved in keeping your teeth straight. All of this can be undermined by those third molars.
According to Stubbs Dental, sometimes wisdom teeth don’t grow in straight, often coming in twisted or pointed at an angle. This can have a ripple effect on the rest of your teeth, leading to more dental work down the road.
When your mouth is crowded and teeth aren’t growing straight, this can make proper dental hygiene difficult. The result is swollen, puffy gums.
The last thing anyone wants is more cavities, but not taking care of your wisdom teeth could lead to more of them.
Cavities and swollen gums go hand-in-hand. When gums swell, they create pockets of bacteria where cavities can form.
Though rare, this is one of the bigger problems that can occur if you don’t address your wisdom teeth.
Colgate says that impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts or growths in the jaw that can leave it hollowed out if left untreated. These growths can also cause nerve damage.
Wisdom teeth affect more than just your mouth. WebMD notes that the sinuses may also be affected by these pesky extra molars.
Because they’re so close together, wisdom teeth can put pressure on your sinuses, causing pain, congestion and sometimes infection.
Tougher over time
There’s a reason why most people get their wisdom teeth removed in their teenage years — and why it’s beneficial to act sooner rather than later.
According to WebMD, the bones in your mouth get harder as you age, making your teeth tougher to move. This means that if you wait to have your wisdom teeth removed, there’s a greater risk for problems after surgery. This can range from heavy bleeding and fractured teeth to severe numbness and minor loss of movement in your jaw.
While the problems may be temporary, they could potentially last a lifetime.
Talk to your dentist
Now that you know the facts, it’s time to take action. Don’t wait for wisdom teeth to become a problem before speaking to your dentist.
For parents who want to make sure their kids get the best, most expert care when it comes to wisdom tooth removal, visit the experienced and extensively trained doctors at Stubbs Dental for a complimentary wisdom teeth consultation.
Stubbs Dental uses gentle extraction methods to ensure your total comfort, with sedation dentistry available. Contact their office today to reserve a time for your complimentary wisdom teeth consultation at one of their northern Utah locations.