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Warning Signs That Wisdom Tooth Extraction Is Needed
At some point or another, most individuals will need to undergo wisdom tooth extraction. A dentist may recommend extraction when the wisdom teeth — which are the final four molars to emerge in the mouth — do not have room to grow in. Dental professionals refer to this as impacted wisdom teeth. When one or more teeth are impacted, a person may experience pain, infection, and other issues, all of which are signs the teeth need to be surgically removed.
Signs a dentist looks for before recommending wisdom tooth extraction
Tooth extraction requires surgery. Because extraction is a surgical process, dental professionals typically do not recommend it unless it is necessary. To determine the necessity of the procedure, a general dentist may look for one or more of the following signs.
Pain or sensitivity in the back of the mouth
One of the first symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth is pain or sensitivity around the site of the tooth. Some patients may only suffer these sensations when eating, brushing, or consuming liquids. Others may experience discomfort when doing absolutely nothing. Regardless of when the pain or sensitivity occurs, it should not be ignored.
Once upon a time, the human jaw had room to accommodate all adult teeth, molars, and wisdom teeth. However, due to evolution, the human jaw grew smaller. As a result, it no longer has space for the third molars. When wisdom teeth do emerge, the mouth becomes overcrowded, and all the teeth must shift to make space for the new arrivals. When an orthodontic patient or a person without a history of misaligned teeth shows signs of shifting teeth, the dentist may check to see if the wisdom teeth are the cause. If they are, the dentist will likely recommend wisdom tooth extraction.
When wisdom teeth begin to emerge, the gums around the teeth may become swollen and inflamed. This is normal but can be uncomfortable.
The greatest risk of living with impacted wisdom teeth is infection. When a wisdom tooth pushes through the surface of the gums, the gums around the tooth may form a flap. Food and other particles can get trapped in this flap and lead to infection. When this occurs, dental professionals refer to it as pericoronitis. In extreme cases, the infection may evolve into a cyst, which can destroy the surrounding jawbone, roots, and other structures. If the cyst goes untreated, it can turn into a tumor and require additional surgery.
One sign many people do not connect to wisdom teeth involves the sinuses. As the upper wisdom teeth grow and mature, they develop root systems. If the teeth do not get removed, those roots can grow to the point where they push up and rub against the sinuses. Though uncommon, under certain circumstances the roots can cause sinus pressure, pain, headaches, and congestion.
Wisdom teeth can cause a host of dental issues, ranging from pain and sensitivity to infection and sinus issues. If you start experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, talk to a dentist about wisdom tooth extraction.
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