Wisdom teeth are often recommended to be extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur:
- Your jaw may not be large enough for them, and the teeth may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
- The wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. As a result, food and germs can get trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful. These are signs of infection.
- Impacted teeth, can lead to more serious problems such as infection, damage to other teeth and the surrounding bone, or a cyst.
- One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side.
- Crowding of the back teeth.
- Red, swollen, and painful gums caused by a flap of skin covering a partially erupted tooth.
- Gum disease and tooth decay in the wisdom tooth, which may be harder to clean than other teeth, or in the teeth and jaw in the area around the wisdom tooth.
Many problems with wisdom teeth can occur with few or no symptoms, so there can be damage even without your knowing it.
When should I remove my wisdom teeth?
There is no single right or wrong answer, however if your dentist has advised that your wisdom teeth look potentially problematic it’s generally best to remove them sooner rather than later. The longer you leave a troublesome wisdom tooth in the mouth, the longer it has to cause further problems in the future.
This advice is based on the fact that the younger you are, the faster you heal. The likeliness of lingering numbness, jaw fracture and other complications also increase with age.