Wisdom teeth frequently become impacted or stuck behind the second-molars. When this happens, it becomes extremely difficult to brush in the area and oral hygiene suffers. In addition, plaque buildup can cause inflammation that leads to infection, decay, or gum disease. Even if erupted (visible in the mouth), these teeth can harbor bacteria and are highly prone to gum disease and loss of bone. Wisdom teeth may also cause jaw cysts or shifting of adjacent teeth.
Download recently published paper in November 2011, ‘Advocacy White Paper on Evidence Based Third Molar Surgery’ for important information on making the right decision about your wisdom teeth.
Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth:
- Pain & swelling– due to inflammation (pericoronitis) or infection of gum tissue.
- Gum disease– (periodontal disease) between the second-molars and wisdom teeth. These teeth share the same bone and gum tissue, and when the tissue is damaged, repair or regeneration is extremely difficult, if not impossible. This greatly compromises the health of second-molars, which are critical for properchewing.
- Decay (also known as caries)– Cavities may occur on the wisdom teeth in older patients or on the root surface of the second-molars. This is sometimes nearly impossible to treat. If decay occurs on the second-molar, that tooth may have to be extracted too.
- Cysts in the jaw bone– Cysts can cause significant destruction of bone and damage to surrounding structures (teeth, nerve, jaw bone, etc). Cysts that expand and get large weaken the jaw bone with potential fracture.
- Shifting of adjacent teeth– This is not entirely understood by dentists, but wisdom teeth probably contribute to this problem. Orthodontists often recommend removing wisdom teeth to prevent shifting.