Wisdom teeth – the third and final set of molars in the rear of your mouth – are one of the least predictable teeth. Unlike other teeth, it’s not uncommon for wisdom teeth to be absent. Even more unusual, while some people have all four wisdom teeth, other people have only one, two, or three – and there seems to be no reliable predictor to determine how many wisdom teeth any given patient has prior to being x-rayed by a dentist.
For many people, the presence or absence of wisdom teeth is irrelevant – you can certainly live a full life with or without wisdom teeth – unless they’re present and problematic.
In many cases, wisdom teeth crowd other molars, grown in misaligned, or only partially erupt from the gum. Crowding can cause pain, tenderness, and further alignment issues with other teeth. In extreme cases, the wisdom teeth can grow in horizontally. In other cases, they can remain impacted – partially erupted through the gum, leaving the gum tissue broken. This condition allows bacteria to enter the gum tissue, surrounding the tooth where it cannot be brushed or flossed, and can lead to significant decay of the tooth itself, as well as periodontal disease as the infection spreads to the surrounding gum tissue.
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort near the back of your mouth, or if you’ve been told you have wisdom teeth that may be problematic, speak to your dentist about the various options available to you. Extraction may not be necessary, but it’s also possible that extraction could be a simple way to relieve pain and pressure caused by wisdom teeth.
If you have questions or concerns regarding dental issues, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.
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