Wisdom teeth, the four molars located at the back of the mouth, are sometimes the subject of much discussion between patients and their dentists. Many dentists recommend removing these teeth, and with good reason. Left in the mouth, many wisdom teeth create problems over time, problems that can be more painful and difficult to treat than simple wisdom teeth removal.
These wisdom teeth problems are even more likely to occur when the teeth do not erupt (grow in) properly, leading to issues not only around the tooth itself but also in the surrounding teeth and tissue. Here are some of the biggest wisdom teeth problems that can occur if the teeth are not removed.
Wisdom teeth problems can include infection.
One of the most common wisdom teeth problems that dentists see in patients is infection. This infection can occur in a flap of skin covering the wisdom tooth. This infection is called pericoronitis. Other infections can also occur in the gum from pockets where bacteria can grow.
Infections often occur when the teeth only partially erupt, creating the flap of skin where bacteria can thrive. In addition, partially erupted teeth can be difficult to clean properly, making it even easier for bacteria to grow and cause infection.
Gum infection can have more widespread impacts. Occasionally, the infection can spread to surrounding teeth or even spread further within the body. Gum disease can develop. Infected gums can also cause the teeth they surround to begin decaying.
Often, pericoronitis and other infections become a recurrent problem. Thanks to the positioning of the wisdom tooth and the resulting favorable environment for the growth of bacteria, it is easy for the infection to come back again and again. When infection is recurrent, simply treating the infection is not sufficient: Wisdom teeth removal becomes a necessity.
Wisdom teeth problems can include tooth damage.
As mentioned above, wisdom teeth problems can lead to infected gums, which can then cause the teeth they surround to decay. Either the wisdom teeth or the surrounding teeth (or both) can gradually break down and/or develop cavities thanks to the growth of bacteria.
In addition, wisdom teeth problems can include other types of tooth and bone damage. This damage often occurs when the wisdom teeth grow in improperly or are impacted (embedded within the bone of the jaw).
For example, if a wisdom tooth grows against a nearby molar, it can exert pressure against that molar and gradually wear away part of the tooth. In addition, as teeth move around in response to the pressure from an improperly growing wisdom tooth, overcrowding of the other teeth can also occur. Shifts in the teeth can also lead to an improper bite and pain. Wisdom teeth problems can eventually create problems within the whole mouth.
Wisdom teeth problems can include cysts.
A less common but equally troublesome example of wisdom teeth problems are cysts that form around the erupting wisdom teeth. These fluid-filled sacs can be painful. However, they can also cause damage within your teeth. For example, they can wear away the bone of your jaw where they are located. At times, they can even damage nerves in the area. In rare instances, tumors can also form around wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is usually the best way to deal with these cysts and prevent them from causing any further damage.
Wisdom teeth problems can include jaw damage.
Tooth decay and infection of the gums are serious wisdom teeth problems. However, wisdom teeth problems can become more widespread and affect the jaw as well. As mentioned above, for example, cysts caused by the eruption of wisdom teeth can wear away the jaw and damage nerves.
In addition, wisdom teeth that do not grow in properly or that are severely impacted within the jaw can damage the jaw itself. Weakened jaw bones, for example, become more prone to fracture. Infections may cause the jaw to swell, and jaw pain is common among wisdom teeth problems as impaction, infection, and tooth decay take their toll. Wisdom teeth removal is usually the best way to prevent or treat jaw damage caused by wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth problems can include sinus pain and pressure.
Also less common, but possible wisdom teeth problems can include sinus pain and pressure, as well as headaches. While the connection between wisdom teeth and these issues are not clear, what is clear is that wisdom teeth removal is often effective at relieving these symptoms.
Wisdom teeth problems can include bad breath.
Finally, wisdom teeth problems can include bad breath. As bacteria build up in the teeth, they can emit a foul odor. The difficulty of cleaning wisdom teeth can also cause bacteria and tartar build up that affects one’s breath. Wisdom teeth removal can help to alleviate this bad breath, and give you more confidence as a result.
Leaving wisdom teeth in your mouth instead of having them removed can cause certain complications. Some of these problems are minor, but others are more severe. All of them can cause discomfort and inconvenience. Whether you experience painful, recurrent infections, bone or tooth decay, jaw problems, headaches, sinus pain, gum issues, bad breath, cysts, or more, these problems can be avoided or alleviated by wisdom teeth removal.
If you need your wisdom teeth removed, or if you want to talk to somebody about whether you should have yours taken out, reach out to Heart of Texas Oral Surgery. We have many years of experience removing wisdom teeth. We can help you to avoid wisdom teeth problems. Or, if you are already experiencing pain or other problems, we can help alleviate these issues by removing your wisdom teeth. We offer you the skilled, and comfortable, procedures you need to deal effectively with your wisdom teeth.