What are wisdom teeth and what should you do about them?

Wisdom teeth typically come in between the ages of 15-25, and their growth and impact on the mouth varies from person to person. The teeth are third molars, and received their name because they come in during adulthood, making them “wise.”  There are four wisdom teeth, although 25% of people will not develop all four of their wisdom teeth. Often, wisdom teeth can be very painful. Some people have enough room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to fit in with their other teeth with no issues. However, others do not have the space for more teeth, and this is where the pain comes in (referred to as “impacted).

It is difficult to weigh the options when deciding whether to remove your wisdom teeth. The idea of oral surgery is unappealing to most, as well as the time off of work or school, and any cost involved. However, it’s important to understand the problems and risks of allowing to your teeth to grow in and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Teeth to become trapped above the gum, risking infection
  • Risk to other teeth
  • Increased bacteria, causing gum disease and tooth decay

Consider these risk when deciding whether to remove your wisdom teeth, and talk your decision over with your dentist. The risk of having an impacted wisdom tooth is as high as 73%.  Dr. Imm is always happy to discuss wisdom teeth and the impact yours could have on your mouth and oral health.

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