Our dentist office at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, knows all about wisdom teeth. They’re that third set of molars at the back of the mouth, and they’re the last of the adult teeth to come in. They start to break through the surface of the gums sometime during a person’s late teens or early twenties. If all goes well, these teeth will provide a young adult with four new, strong teeth to do what molars do best: grind, crush, and chew food.
Wisdom Concerning Wisdom Teeth
Unfortunately, when it comes to wisdom teeth, all does not necessarily go well. There are a number of reasons the growth of wisdom teeth can cause problems. Sometimes they have trouble breaking through the surface of the gums, which is called impaction. In other cases, it could be that the teeth in a mouth are too crowded to allow these final molars the space they need to develop correctly. As a result, they can push against another tooth and risk damaging that tooth. Or, wisdom teeth may grow at an angle that faces the back of the mouth, which makes them hard to keep clean. If they’re not kept clean, Pericoronitis, a disease of the gums around the wisdom teeth, can set in and create inflammation.
Impacted or infected wisdom teeth do not always have to be removed. Infection may be able to be treated with antibiotics, and impaction may be solved by simply opening up a place in the gums to allow the tooth the needed space to fully develop. But if infection keeps recurring, or if a wisdom tooth is growing in crooked—even while it’s still below the surface of the gums—removal of the tooth may be the only option.
Checkups at the Dentist Office Catch Potential Problems
Impaction can’t be prevented. But if young adults are visiting our dentist office at Lifetime Family Dental for their biannual checkups, we’ll be able to watch the progress of their wisdom teeth. X-rays can catch any potential problems early, before infection spreads, or improper growth causes damage. So if you’ve got young adults in your household, be sure to have them schedule regular cleanings and checkups at Lifetime Family Dental. You’ll be glad you did, since protecting their teeth in the present helps protect their overall health for a lifetime.