Wisdom teeth, or third molars as they’re sometimes referred to, are frequently the most bothersome teeth in the mouth due to impaction, crowding, and risk of infections. Now if these teeth cause so much trouble, you may be wondering how they managed to earn the title of “wisdom” teeth. It’s because of the long wait to get them. These large molars are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth — usually emerging between the age of 17 and 21, when we’re supposedly a little wiser. But the size of these teeth and their location in the mouth often sets the stage for unwanted dental issues that prompt dentists to recommend their removal to prevent more serious concerns.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Need Their Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
Based on the size of a person’s mouth and the size of the erupting wisdom teeth, extraction of these teeth isn’t always necessary. If there is plenty of space in both the upper and lower arch for 4 more teeth (2 in the upper arch and 2 in the lower) then their removal isn’t always required. However, monitoring the health of these teeth is imperative as they are more prone to gum inflammation and decay due to them being more challenging to keep clean. Flossing the very back of wisdom teeth is often overlooked and that means bacteria and food particles to irritate tissue and increase the risk for decay. Even if a person has had their wisdom teeth for several years, there’s always the chance that they will need to be extracted at the first sign of dental issues.
The Importance of Dental X-rays
Monitoring the position and health of wisdom teeth requires the use of x-rays. Though a dentist can view an erupted tooth and look at surrounding tissue, there’s just no way to judge the health of an unerupted wisdom tooth without the use of an x-ray. The x-ray provides invaluable information such as the position of roots, the angle of the tooth, the location of nerves, and of course, if there is evidence of any infection or tissue abnormality. You may be surprised to learn that some x-rays reveal wisdom teeth pressing on the roots of other molars, causing teeth to tilt forward, creating crowding, and in some cases, causing erosion of otherwise healthy roots.
The family dentists at Ranchlands Dental in NW Calgary welcome enquiries from patients regarding wisdom tooth removal – contact us online or call us today for a consultation at (403) 239-5212.