The chances are that you or someone you know personally has had their wisdom teeth removed. And, if your experiences have been anything like my own, not a lot of people have very positive things to say about the procedure!
You might be wondering, “Do wisdom teeth have to be removed?” The truth of the matter is that almost everyone has to undergo the procedure. Some people, however, never have to get these teeth taken out. There are ways you can tell if they really need to be removed or not.
What Are Your Wisdom Teeth?
So what exactly are your wisdom teeth?
These teeth are the very last of your teeth to grow in and break through your gums. They are located the furthest back inside of your mouth, and there are four of them. There is one on the top and one on the bottom on both sides of your mouth.
The actual age that your wisdom teeth finally grow in can vary greatly, but they usually first start forming in your teen years. By the time you’re in your late teens, the crowns of your the teeth usually start to erupt through your gums, if there’s enough room for them to do so.
By the time you reach your mid-twenties, these teeth are usually either completely erupted through your gums or they become what is called “impacted.”
If your wisdom teeth are positioned properly and totally healthy, they can actually be a pretty valuable asset to your mouth. However, more often than not, they usually end up causing a lot of people more hassle than help.
When your wisdom teeth erupt through your gums, they often cause a dental condition called “crowding,” which, for a lot of people, can lead to abnormal development.
There are a couple of different degrees of wisdom teeth impaction. In some cases, they can be partially impacted. This condition occurs when part of their crown is actually showing through the gums. In other cases, they can be what’s called “fully” impacted. This condition occurs when they have never actually broken through your gum line.
How to Tell If You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Whenever your wisdom teeth are partially or fully impacted, there is always a risk of developing dental complications. These dental complications caused by impacted teeth can initially begin with symptoms like mild pain and bleeding gums.
However, if these wisdom teeth symptoms remain untreated, they can eventually lead to and/or develop into the following dental issues:
- Damaging adjacent teeth
- Tooth and/or gum disease (periodontal diseases)
- Oral cyst development
Now, not everyone has impacted wisdom teeth. And although it’s common for experts to recommend that you have them extracted early on even if you have not yet had any problems with them, if you do not have any symptoms, only a dental office visit can determine if you truly need an extraction.
However, if you do have issues, your teeth are most likely impacted and the question becomes, “Should I get my wisdom teeth removed?” If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, the answer to that question might be yes:
- Tenderness and/or pain in the back of your mouth close to your gums
- Chewing difficulties
- Reddening of area where your tooth surfaces
- Swelling of your jaw
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Red, tender, swollen, and/or bleeding gums
- Unpleasant odor on your breath
How to Tell If Your Wisdom Teeth are Coming In
A common question for teens and young adults is, “How do I know if I have wisdom teeth?”
For starters, these teeth usually come in in one’s late teens or early 20s. If you’re younger than that or well past your early 20s, the chances are that you don’t have wisdom teeth.
It’s easy to tell if your wisdom teeth are coming in, though. Look for the following signs:
- Irritated gums at the back of your mouth, including redness
- Frequent pain in the back of your jaw
- Frequent biting of the tongue or cheek due to a lack of space in your mouth once the new teeth have erupted
- Pain in the jaw, eyes, or ears, especially at night
Now that you are aware of the signs and symptoms that you may need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, contact us at (253) 770-0198 to schedule an appointment or contact us via our online contact form right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.