Wisdom teeth – it becomes a rite of passage as we mature into adults. For some it’s an easy journey; for others, not so much. Some people have all four wisdom teeth, others may only have a couple. Unfortunately, there seems to be no reliable predictor to determine how many wisdom teeth any given patient has prior to getting x-rays done. And you can certainly live a full life with or without wisdom teeth – until they’ve become problematic.
In many cases, wisdom teeth crowd other molars, grow in misaligned, or partially erupt from the gum. This is what causes pain, tenderness, and further alignment issues with other teeth. If they become impacted, bacteria can enter the gum tissue where it cannot be brushed or flossed, leading to significant decay of the tooth itself, as well as periodontal disease as the infection spreads to the surrounding gum tissue.
While not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, their potential for problems makes them likely candidates for extraction in many patients. The difficulty of extraction depends on many factors, such as number of wisdom teeth, their general alignment, and whether or not they’re compacting other teeth. If the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and visible, extraction may be simple; if the wisdom teeth are underneath the gums, the dentist or oral surgeon will need to cut into the gum to get to the teeth, which tends to be more invasive.
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.
If you’re interested in learning more about wisdom teeth, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.
Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.