How to Deal with Problem Wisdom Teeth
Most permanent teeth appear in childhood. But your third molars, also called wisdom teeth, do not show up until between the ages of 17 and 21. Sometimes wisdom teeth come in harmlessly and cause no issues. More often, though, they present problems.
When wisdom teeth come in straight and there is space to accommodate them, they may be safe. But if they come through in the wrong position or if there is not enough room for them to erupt fully through the gumline, problems can develop. This can lead to pain and damage to neighboring teeth.
If your wisdom teeth come through in the wrong position, food can get caught around them, allowing bacteria to collect and cavities to form. It may also be difficult or impossible to floss them adequately. If they are impacted, meaning that they do not erupt through the gumline or they erupt only partially, they can crowd and damage neighboring teeth. Partially impacted wisdom teeth can also catch food particles and harbor bacteria.
As your wisdom teeth erupt, they will be monitored for signs of any of these problems. If any of these problems develop or if you are experiencing any pain, your dentist will recommend wisdom teeth extraction. Sometimes extraction is recommended as a precaution even if wisdom teeth come in normally. This is because problems can still develop later, and it is easier to remove them at a younger age before the jawbone has fully formed and hardened.
If it is decided that your wisdom teeth do not need to be extracted, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits to ensure that they are cleaned adequately. Brush and floss them thoroughly every day to remove food and bacteria, and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and to monitor your oral health.
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