Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last four adult teeth to grow. They don't need to be removed as long as they are not causing any dental issues. However, problematic wisdom teeth should be removed to prevent dental problems such as malocclusion, gum disease, and tooth decay. Below are three signs you should remove one or more wisdom teeth.
Partially Erupted Wisdom Tooth
Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt. Therefore, there may be insufficient space in the jaw for the teeth to develop normally. As a result, part of a wisdom tooth may fail to erupt entirely from the bone tissue. Also, a gum flap can form over the tooth and cover parts of the crown. A partially erupted tooth is a threat to nearby teeth, as it can cause malocclusion.
An impacted third molar can start to push against the second molar as it tries to find enough space to grow. This throws the second molar out of alignment and causes it to push against the adjacent tooth. Over time, a partially erupted tooth can cause crowding and severe alignment issues, forcing you to seek orthodontic treatment. Therefore, remove it to protect the other teeth from malocclusion.
Difficulty Maintaining Oral Hygiene
Do you have difficulty brushing your wisdom teeth? If so, you should consider removing them. If your wisdom tooth has partially erupted, you won't be able to reach it properly when brushing your teeth. As a result, food particles stuck in the teeth attract harmful oral bacteria, which increases the risk of tooth decay. Therefore, look out for the following early signs of a decayed wisdom tooth:
- Bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Plaque formation on the affected tooth
- Tooth sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods
- Jaw pain and difficulty opening the mouth
You can get a root canal to treat tooth decay in a wisdom tooth. However, if the tooth has partially erupted, there is a risk of re-infection. Therefore, removing the affected third molar is the best option.
Recurrent Cysts Around a Wisdom Tooth
Poor oral hygiene can cause pus-filled cysts to develop around a wisdom tooth. These cysts indicate a dental infection. If left untreated, the infection can worsen and cause severe pain, gum inflammation, and discomfort when swallowing. Even if the cysts go away after treatment, they can recur due to poor oral hygiene. Therefore, if you have recurrent cysts around your wisdom tooth, remove the tooth to prevent severe infection.
Removing a partially erupted wisdom tooth may require a minor surgical procedure. However, most times, it is performed as an outpatient procedure. Therefore, visit your dentist so they can assess your third molars and recommend the best way to remove them.
If you have questions about wisdom teeth removal, talk to a dentist near you.