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Your wisdom teeth, or third and final molars emerge typically between the ages of 17-21. Our ancestors had use for them because of their diet, but since our diets have evolved, so has our jaw, which is smaller than theirs were back then. Now we don’t require these back molars to chew our food. As superfluous teeth, they can sit in the back and never cause problems, but often they do. They are difficult to clean because they sit so far back making brushing and flossing a challenge. This makes them susceptible to dental caries and gum disease. How do you know if your wisdom teeth are causing you problems? Some symptoms to look for include:

–Pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth
–Misalignment of surrounding teeth
–Jaw pain or ache
–Unpleasant breath and an unpleasant taste when eating
–Red, swollen gums where the molars are
–A raw gum line in the back of the mouth

What are some of the complications of our wisdom teeth? Coming in sideways can crowd nearby teeth, throw off your bite and alignment, and cause tooth decay and gum disease—even if they only partially erupt. If cysts develop around the wisdom teeth, this can hollow out the jaw and damage nerves. In addition, wisdom teeth that can wreak havoc with your sinuses, causing pressure, pain and congestion.

In addition to causing gum inflammation on the tissue, swollen gums can create pockets in between the teeth that encourages bacteria and cavities. Impaction occurs when the wisdom teeth remain inside the gum tissue or the jawbone, or only partially break through or erupt in the gums. When this happens, harmful bacteria can come in through the opening, surround the tooth, and cause infection. In this case you can experience jaw stiffness, pain, and swelling.

If your teeth are impacted, removal is your best option to solve your current problem and prevent problems in the future. Your dentist can help you decide the best course of action. If you would like to consult with Dr. Edward Miller, please call our dental team at 972-298-6131 today!