In the U.S., getting your wisdom teeth removed is so common that it is nearly a rite of passage. In fact, there are 5 million people each year who have them removed. It typically occurs between the ages of 17 and 21. But it can be done a little before or after those ages.
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars and can cause tooth misalignment or even pain. If this happens, removal is necessary.
You may have no wisdom teeth at all, or as many as four. According to the Dental Research Journal, up to 37% of people never have these teeth form or grow. But for those who do have them, it’s often necessary to have them removed. So, how do you know if you are a candidate?
5 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth May Need to be Removed
Pain – If they have not erupted (broken the skin) and you are experiencing pain while eating, talk to your dentist.
Swollen Gums – Just as babies’ gums become swollen when teething, wisdom teeth often cause gums to swell as they erupt. They often grow at the wrong angle or even sideways.
Teeth Crowding – Because these teeth often come in at incorrect angles, they can force teeth out of alignment. If you have already had braces, wisdom teeth may need removal before they undo the finished work. Talk to your dentist to see if they need removal after braces come off.
Extra Sinus Pressure – Even if you are not prone to allergies and sinus issues, having misaligned teeth can put extra pressure on your sinus or nasal passage. You can often tell the difference between regular sinus pain and wisdom teeth pain. Suspect the teeth if allergy meds make no difference in pain levels.
Jaw Stiffness – If they have erupted misaligned, it can cause your upper and lower jaws not to rest properly, making it hard to open or close your mouth.
If you are experiencing discomfort, you can use hot/cold compresses or take pain medication to alleviate the pain. However, this is not a long-term solution. You may need to have the teeth removed, but this won’t be confirmed until your dentist looks at your gums and/or x-rays are taken.
The dental team at Blashford Denistry, a Progressive Dental Concepts practice, understand how painful dealing with problem wisdom teeth can be. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or just have questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your hygienist or dentist. They have the tools and knowledge needed to help you live life without dental pain.