Many people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed, which are the third set of back molars that, under normal circumstances, emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Statistics show that as many as five million people a year have their wisdom teeth extracted.
There are range of complications that contribute to a family dentist recommending patients have their wisdom teeth removed. These molars may become impacted if there is not enough space on either jaw, or they may attempt to partially erupt through the gums and cause pain, lead to infection, or damage other teeth.
While there is nothing patients can do to help wisdom teeth emerge correctly, monitoring and detecting any issues early on can prevent worse symptoms down the road. Here are common signs to look out for that you can discuss with your Anchorage dentist.
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Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed
Wisdom teeth that fully emerge from the gums and cause no other issues do not need to be removed. At South Anchorage Dental Center, our Alaska dentist, Dr. Brimhall, will only recommend removing these molars if they are causing problematic symptoms or dental problems. The following situations often mean wisdom tooth extraction is necessary:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Teeth that don’t emerge when they should are considered impacted, which often happens because there is not enough room for the tooth to come through. These teeth may push up against the second molars, leading to an infection or damaging surrounding teeth. This can cause swelling around the gums or jaws, bleeding, jaw pain, bad breath, and difficulty opening the mouth. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may not cause any negative symptoms. Your family dentist may still recommend removing these before they cause any future issues.
Partially Impacted or Fully Erupted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth may partially push through the gums but fail to erupt completely. Some people may have wisdom teeth that have fully emerged but at a strange angle. Both situations can be problematic as unaligned molars can damage other teeth or be difficult to clean.
If patients are unable to clean fully around wisdom teeth, dental decay, gum disease, and infection are likely to occur. Cysts, or in rare situations, tumors, can form in sacs within the gums around the wisdom teeth. This can cause extensive damage to the surrounding teeth, gums, and nerves, sometimes requiring surgery to remove the surrounding tissues and bones.
Diagnosis and Treatment From an Alaska Dentist
If you notice any pain or redness around the gums near your wisdom teeth or are experiencing jaw pain that won’t go away, let your family dentist know during your next appointment. We also offer same-day dental services so you can get it checked out right away. Problems with wisdom teeth are often not considered a dental emergency. However, if you’re in extreme pain or are showing signs of an infection, you can see our emergency dentist in Anchorage.
Even if you don’t notice any symptoms of a wisdom tooth issue right away, your dentist will examine your mouth during regular appointments and can order an X-ray to view your teeth below the gums, especially for patients between the ages of 17 and 25. If any issues are detected, your dentist will discuss next steps, which most likely involves pulling out teeth that are already erupted or scheduling a surgery for impacted or partially impacted teeth.
If you suspect something is wrong with your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be quick to diagnose the issue and set you on the right path for treatment. You’re in good hands with our expert staff and can benefit from our dental savings plan.
Ready to get checked? Give us a call!