How Wisdom Teeth Extraction Can Help Prevent Gum Disease

 How Wisdom Teeth Extraction Can Help Prevent Gum Disease from Wilson Oral Surgery in Arroyo Grande, CAMany dentists recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, extracted during the teenage years. Wisdom teeth extraction is often recommended for patients whose teeth have been impacted or are causing problems such as crowding, gum inflammation, or pain in the mouth. Extraction can prevent complications for the gums, teeth, and the patient’s oral health as a whole.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, unlike other molars, do not erupt until most patients are around 16 to 21 years of age. Though it may seem like a good idea to keep this large extra set of molars to help grind food for better digestion, many patients’ wisdom teeth never erupt. In a worst-case scenario, they become impacted, which means that these teeth are “stuck” in the gumline. This situation is not to be ignored, as the affected tooth can cause problems for the rest of the patient’s mouth.

Scientists are not sure why humans still have wisdom teeth, but it is suspected that the human mouth used to be larger and capable of holding more teeth without crowding. Crowded teeth, and wisdom teeth that have difficulty erupting, can cause many problems for the gums as well as the other teeth.

Why can wisdom teeth extraction be good for the gums?

Though every patient is unique, most young adults benefit from having the wisdom teeth extracted if the mouth is small, if the impacted teeth are causing issues below the gum line, or if the dentist suspects that the patient’s oral health situation may lead to gum disease or other issues down the road. If wisdom teeth are not healthy or are not coming in correctly, a patient may notice the following gum problems:

  • Pain in the back of the mouth from an impacted or infected tooth (this can even occur under the gumline).
  • Difficulty brushing and flossing around the tooth, which can lead to plaque buildup and gum inflammation.
  • A condition called pericoronitis, which describes the gum inflammation around the crown of the partially erupted wisdom tooth.

Like any other tooth in the mouth, an impacted wisdom tooth can develop lesions or cavities. Wisdom teeth that do not erupt often develop cysts that can damage the surrounding tissues and even the roots of the nearby teeth. Simply ignoring this problem cannot make it go away. Over time, unhealthy wisdom teeth will almost certainly lead to unhealthy gums.

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Not every patient will need wisdom teeth extraction, and the extraction process differs depending on whether the patient’s wisdom teeth are impacted or have already erupted. It is important to speak with a licensed dentist if you are experiencing pain from an impacted wisdom tooth or notice that a wisdom tooth looks like it is unable to fully erupt.

Undergoing the extraction early can be extremely important to future oral health. Choosing to remove wisdom teeth may lower the chances of gum disease that could be otherwise avoided.

Request an appointment or call Wilson Oral Surgery at 805-476-2567 for an appointment in our Arroyo Grande office.

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