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Wisdom Teeth 101: What They Are and When to Remove Them

We all have them, but do we know where they are and what they’re for?

Wisdom teeth (third molars) are the last of your teeth to appear (erupt) in the mouth and can become impacted because they don’t have enough room to come in or develop normally. Wisdom teeth usually emerge sometime between the ages of 17 and 25.

Some people have wisdom teeth that emerge without any problems and line up with the other teeth behind the second molars. In many cases, however, the mouth is too crowded for third molars to develop normally. These crowded third molars become impacted, which is when you need to pay a visit to your friendly family dentist, Confidental!

This blog post will answer the questions about wisdom teeth you never thought to ask, such as what they are, why they develop so late, why they need to be removed, and when. Continue reading to learn more.

Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

The short answer is “yes”. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in pain, damage to other teeth, and other dental complications, and are usually removed. When an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected, damages other teeth, or causes other dental problems, you may experience some of these signs or symptoms:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may cause no apparent or immediate problems, but because they’re hard to clean, they may be more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease than other teeth are. Some dentists and oral surgeons also recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that don’t cause symptoms to prevent future problems.

Who Should Decide When to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Your Dentist in Auckland, Confidental has the experience to determine whether your wisdom teeth need to be removed and have the technology and professional know-how to complete the procedure successfully. We have a 3D CBCT (Cone-Beam Computed Tomography) machine to provide better imaging and diagnoses of wisdom teeth. With this modern technology, we can more accurately determine the proximity of wisdom teeth to delicate areas like nerves and sinuses.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause several problems in your mouth, including damage to the enamel of neighbouring teeth. If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage the second molar or increase the risk of infection in that area. This pressure can also cause problems with crowding of the other teeth or require orthodontic treatment to straighten other teeth.

Partially impacted wisdom teeth appear to be at higher risk of tooth decay (caries) than other teeth. This probably occurs because wisdom teeth are harder to clean and because food and bacteria get easily trapped between the gum and a partially erupted tooth.

Finally, any difficulty cleaning impacted, partially erupted wisdom teeth increase the risk of developing a painful, inflammatory gum condition called pericoronitis in that area.

Let’s talk about prevention

You can’t keep an impaction from occurring but keeping regular six-month dental appointments for cleaning and check-ups enables your dentist to monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth. Regularly updated dental X-rays may indicate impacted wisdom teeth before any symptoms develop, and Confidental’s dental services include all the latest technology.

Book an appointment today to set your mind at ease and regain that confidence in your smile.