Wisdom Teeth & Oral Health

If you thought you were done with having new teeth push through your gum line, think again. Wisdom teeth (a set of third molars) typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25.

While some people are able to keep their wisdom teeth, others may require wisdom teeth removal to prevent crowding, cavities, and infections.

In this blog post, the Grand Rapids dentist at Complete Health Dentistry explain how wisdom teeth removal can protect your oral health.

It’s necessary to remove wisdom teeth when:

  • You have impacted (crooked) wisdom teeth.
  • There’s no room in your mouth for wisdom teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth are stuck underneath the gum line or have partially erupted.

For more information on the wisdom teeth removal procedure, we would recommend scheduling a consultation with your family dentist.

Prevents Tooth Decay

Many people just don’t have enough room in their mouth for extra teeth. When this happens, wisdom teeth have nowhere to go and will push other teeth out of the way to make room. Thankfully, your dentist can use x-rays to track the path your wisdom teeth will take before this happens. Wisdom teeth begin to form around age 10.

Impacted wisdom teeth can push surrounding teeth out of alignment, making it difficult to brush and floss. Since crowded teeth give plaque more places to hide (out of reach of your toothbrush), you are at a higher risk for cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Teeth that are crooked and overlap with other teeth also make it difficult to remove food particles, which are a food source for the bacteria in plaque.

Protects the Smile You Got After Years of Orthodontics

After years of orthodontics, the last thing you want is for your wisdom teeth to create new issues with bite and alignment. If you don’t have enough room in your jaw to accommodate wisdom teeth, your tooth extraction dentist will recommend wisdom tooth removalPre-emptive wisdom tooth extraction can protect your beautiful smile from crowding and crooked teeth.

Protects You from Infections

If there isn’t enough room for wisdom teeth to break through the gum line, an infection can fester around the tooth. For example, cysts (pockets of pus) can develop around non-erupting wisdom teeth. If a wisdom tooth has partially erupted from the gum line, you may be at risk for a type of bacterial infection called pericoronitis. Pericoronitis happens when the gums surrounding the impacted tooth become swollen and infected.

To recap, wisdom teeth will need to be removed if they are impacted or stuck beneath the gum line. You may also need wisdom teeth removed if your jaw is too small to accommodate the extra teeth. Keep in mind that not all people need their wisdom teeth removed. If your dentist sees that your wisdom teeth are coming straight down into a jaw with plenty of space, you can live with wisdom teeth while still maintaining good oral health.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry works hard to help patients maintain beautiful healthy smiles through complete dental treatments. If you are concerned about the effect erupting wisdom teeth will have on your smile, schedule a consultation with our dentist in Grand Rapids, MI at (616) 458-7267.