If you’ve noticed a pain in the back of your mouth, behind your last molars, your wisdom teeth might be on the move. These teeth, called third molars, aren’t essential to modern chewing and digestion. In fact, research is being conducted on lasering wisdom teeth during infancy. As these large teeth erupt and move, they can cause pain and dental health concerns for surrounding teeth, as well as the relationship between upper and lower teeth, when they come together as the mouth is closed. This relationship is known as occlusion or, if it is not balanced, malocclusion.
So do you need your wisdom teeth? No.
Should you have them extracted? That’s a question best answered by your dentist, Dr. Markham. Call her, your Auburn dentist, to schedule an exam and consultation today. Our number-one goal will be getting you out of pain, followed closely by the goal of optimizing your oral health, which includes comfortable function.
Teething is generally a phase that we attribute to infants and toddlers. However, teething in the early years of life is just the beginning of various phases of tooth loss and replacement. We’re all born with two sets of teeth: primary and permanent. A person’s primary teeth usually fully develop by about age seven. Around the same time, primary teeth begin naturally falling out as permanent teeth erupt.
Permanent teeth have no replacement, so taking care of them is imperative. However, around age 17-21, third molars begin erupting. Most people have four of these teeth, two upper and two lower. Lucky folks have fewer, and rarely, a person may develop five!
An impacted tooth is one that will not erupt. It becomes lodged against bone or a neighboring tooth and simply cannot break through the gums. Usually, this occurs because the tooth is not coming in straight. Pain can occur when the impacted molar assesses pressure against another tooth or becomes infected. The only treatment for an impacted wisdom tooth is extraction.
Should you opt to retain your wisdom teeth into adulthood, brushing and flossing, accompanied by six-month checkups, may keep them healthy for your whole life. Because of their location in the back of the mouth, they are difficult to keep clean, and thus are prone to cavities. Even if your third molars remain decay-free, they can shift at any time. It’s common for adults to experience pain in wisdom teeth as they move to put pressure on nerves.
The best time to have wisdom teeth removed is during the late teen years, even before they emerge from beneath the gums. As we age, recovery from surgery becomes more difficult, and other health factors can complicate oral surgeries. However, if your wisdom teeth are infected, impacted, badly decayed, or painful, regardless of your age, you will probably need them removed.
You don’t have to grin and bear wisdom tooth pain. Call Maidu Dental in Auburn today at 530-823-8771 to schedule your exam and consultation with Dr. Markham. Our office is accepting new patients, and we serve children as well as adults.