If you landed on this blog, chances are you have already started researching about your wisdom teeth. In fact, you may already be suffering from pain associated with these back molars. While a fortunate few may go their whole lives without ever needing their wisdom teeth extracted, the majority of us will have to confront this at some point. As cliche as it sounds, the question isn’t “if” but “when”?
The X-Rays Tell the Story
The most obvious way to know whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be extracted is by having up-to-date x-rays taken of your entire mouth. While dentists use many different types and angles of x-rays depending on what picture they need, they will typically use a panoramic x-ray when examining your wisdom teeth. A panoramic x-ray will take an entire picture of your jaw – top and bottom and from ear to ear.
In the x-ray, your dentist will be able to see if your wisdom teeth are going to cause issues, either in the present or future. Some wisdom teeth grow normally, but because of the spacing of your mouth, they may begin to crowd the rest of the molars and surrounding teeth. The more crowding, the more issues arise, such as tooth damage, loosening of the teeth, and even teeth falling out.
Give Them the Boot
After an x-ray, your dentist may explain the reasons for needing wisdom teeth extraction.
- The Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted. The wisdom tooth or teeth are growing at an angle underneath the gum, and in severe cases, they may be lying entirely on their side and growing into the side of the other molars.
- The Wisdom Teeth are Crowding. Your wisdom teeth may have grown in but are crowding the other back molars and posing a risk of them falling out.
- The Wisdom Teeth are Infected. As your wisdom teeth grow, they can break open blood vessels and parts of the gum. Any opening in your mouth is at risk of infection. Sadly, once an infection gets into your bloodstream, things can become very serious. To avoid this, your wisdom teeth need to be removed and antibiotics will be prescribed to stop the infection.
- The Wisdom Teeth are Sensitive. Any time you have tooth pain or sensitivity, your dentist will examine the cause. In most cases, when wisdom teeth are causing any sort of discomfort, your provider will recommend extraction.
The Unnecessary Molars
Your wisdom teeth are not at all what their name implies. Wisdom teeth are actually quite unnecessary, as they are the 4th set of molars that come in as adults. With our other molars, we are capable of functioning normally and eating a normal diet, which is why most dentists will err on the side of caution and recommend wisdom teeth be removed.
If you are still unsure about whether or not yours are ready for extraction, schedule an appointment at Mountain Shadows Dental. We would be happy to take an updated set of x-rays and provide you with an exam and cleaning. For new patients, this appointment is only $59! Remember – it is always wise to see a dentist.