Being wise when it comes to dental treatment can be tricky – especially when knowing when to get your wisdom teeth removed. While some people never have issues with these pesky back molars, approximately 85 percent of the adult American population will get their wisdom teeth extracted at some point in their life.
The Problem with Wisdom
Okay, there’s no problem with wisdom – just issues with the teeth. By the time we are 20 years old, our back molars have taken up the majority of space in the back of our mouths. Some fortunate few have extended jaws that allow for just one more set of teeth (wisdom teeth) to squeeze in and join the molar team with no issues. For the rest of us, as wisdom teeth begin to grow, they can crowd the back molars.
If wisdom teeth don’t find a way to grow up and in, they will still grow . . . sideways. Dentists call these ‘impacted’ wisdom teeth. Some impacted wisdom teeth grow slightly sideways, at a 40-degree angle. In more severe cases, the wisdom teeth may lay completely on their side, pushing the other molars and teeth together and causing a whole slew of dental problems.
Getting the Diagnosis
Even impacted wisdom teeth may not cause any discomfort until they have wreaked havoc in your mouth. That is why it is important to see your dentist and get updated x-rays at least two times per year. With updated x-rays, your dentist will be able to see if your wisdom teeth are indeed growing up – or sideways. If your x-ray shows that these molars are starting to impact your other teeth, your dentist may recommend extraction.
Another way – and a more obvious one – to know when it is time to give your wisdom teeth the boot is when you start to experience pain or discomfort in the back of your mouth. If you notice your gums becoming sensitive or hot to the touch, or teeth surrounding the area start to become painful or loose, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if wisdom teeth could be the culprit (and even if they aren’t, any dental pain can lead to an emergency dental situation and should be examined right away).
If you are still unsure about when or if your wisdom teeth need to be removed, please contact our team at Kip Dental. We would be happy to care for your oral health needs.