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How Will I Know If My Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

We often associate the growth of new teeth with babies and young children, but wisdom teeth break the mold — they typically appear when patients are teens or young adults. For some patients, this final set of molars can do wonders for oral health, so long as they’re well aligned and have plenty of space to grow in. The majority of patients do not experience such issue-free growth and therefore require their wisdom teeth to be removed.
But, how do you know if your wisdom teeth need to go? For a lot of patients, there are absolutely no signs. Instead, a dentist will perform an x-ray to see if there are wisdom teeth beneath the surface of your gums. If so, the x-ray will reveal the position of the wisdom teeth, and this is what normally decides whether or not a removal will be necessary.
Some wisdom teeth will be positioned horizontally — yes, they position themselves to grow parallel to your gums, instead of through them. Clearly, that’s not going to be a comfortable addition to your jaw. Your dentist might also find your teeth are angled incorrectly, so that they’re either growing toward your other molars or away from them. Especially in the former scenario, an improperly aligned wisdom tooth can cause crowding of the teeth, which sends pain through your jaw. It can also cause damage to your teeth, jaw and nerves.
Your dentist might also find that your wisdom teeth are impacted, which means they are somehow unable to push through your gums. An impacted tooth might also break through partially and get stuck, but you will likely know if this happens, as it often leads to a tooth infection. These infections lead to lots of painful side effects: swelling, jaw stiffness and other symptoms that might seem like general illness, but could be attributed to your new teeth growing in.
To that end, you might have some other symptoms that you might not associate with your new teeth but are a side effect of wisdom teeth growth — and a sign they need to be removed. The growth of your wisdom teeth can cause sinus issues, including pain and pressure. And, like a normal sinus infection, you might experience congestion, which is not something you’d normally attribute to the growth of a new tooth.
The swelling surrounding your expanding wisdom tooth could also lead to another unsavory side effect: cavities. That’s because swollen gums have more pockets where bacteria can hide, grow and lead to cavities. If you have had a cavity before, you know how they feel. If not, cavities lead to the decay of your teeth, which makes them more sensitive to sweets, hot foods and cold foods. If you’re diligent about brushing and caring for your teeth but still develop a cavity near your molars, it might be due to wisdom teeth swelling.
Of course, the best way to know if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed is to talk to your dentist, at Wells Family Dentistry, and have x-rays done of your gums. From there, you can decide the best treatment option, whether you let them grow in or remove them before they start causing damage to your pre-existing pearly whites. If you need emergency services, do not hesitate to contact us today.

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