The Smarts behind Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of your mouth.  Sometimes wisdom teeth don’t have room to grow properly and can cause problems by growing at miscellaneous angles in the jaw, horizontally or only partially emerge through the gums.  Other times, they remain completely hidden. Wisdom teeth that aren’t able to emerge normally become impacted, or trapped, within your jaw.

If the wisdom teeth emerge partially through the gums, a passageway is created, which can cause problems.  This passageway is typically hard to see and to clean, which can lead to bacteria that may cause oral infection and/or gum disease.

If wisdom teeth don’t fully emerge or grow near the nerve of the lower jaw, most dentists recommend removing them.  It is also recommended to remove them prior to the wisdom teeth growing fully formed roots.

Wisdom teeth may not need to be removed if they are:

  • Healthy
  • Grown in completely (fully erupted)
  • Positioned correctly and biting properly with their opposite teeth
  • Able to be cleaned as part of daily hygiene practices

Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary if you experience:

  • Pain
  • Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to nearby teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Extensive tooth decay

Talk to Dr. Halsema about whether wisdom teeth removal is right for you.

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