Are Your Wisdom Teeth Helping or Hurting?

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When our ancestors roamed the earth, the third molars, or wisdom teeth, were necessary to help chew the kinds of food they ate. Our diets have since evolved, making these third molars superfluous, and in fact, problematic since our jaws are smaller than theirs, so there isn’t really room for these extra teeth. This means that when they come in, they can cause problems. Difficult to clean because they sit so far back in the mouth, they make brushing and flossing them 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? When they merge sideways they can crowd the nearby teeth, throw off your bite and alignment. If cysts develop around the wisdom teeth, this can hollow out the jaw and damage nerves. They can also wreak havoc with your sinuses, causing pressure, pain and congestion.

In addition to causing gum inflammation, swollen gums can create pockets in between the teeth that encourage bacteria and cavities. Impaction occurs when the wisdom teeth remain inside the gum tissue or the jawbone, or only partially break through the gums. When this happens, harmful bacteria come in through the opening, surround the tooth, and cause infection and then 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 will help you decide the best course of action. If you would like to consult with one of our dentists, please call Mutchler & Lewis Family Dental Care at 419-423-0343 today!