Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that come in between the ages of 17 and 23. These extra teeth are not necessary to live a normal life, nor do they affect speech, eating, or drinking. However, there are some instances where you need to remove wisdom teeth.
Learning When to Remove Wisdom Teeth
There are signs that will indicate your wisdom teeth may become a problem later in life. When they haven’t come in yet, your Houston dentist checks for signs like this. The early warnings are subtle, such as the size of the oral cavity. As a result, most people won’t notice them.
As you grow, the dentist compares the location and development of your wisdom teeth with the space they have to erupt. If the oral cavity is too small, they won’t fully emerge from the gums. This is known as impaction. An impacted tooth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can quickly spread to the gums. This causes inflammation and pain.
It’s possible to have impacted teeth that don’t hurt, but they can become a problem later. When teeth shift position, gaps known as pockets form. These pockets trap food and bacteria, leading to infections.
Treatment Alternatives to Removing Wisdom Teeth
If the oral cavity is sufficiently sized for wisdom teeth, and they erupt without issue, it’s still possible to experience these issues. Pockets that develop behind the wisdom teeth host bacteria when food ferments inside them. The bacteria grows, causing inflammation and pain in the gums and around the jaw muscles.
Through conservative dentistry, a thorough cleaning of the pocket coupled with salt flushes and gum massages sufficiently heals these pockets. Salt kills bacteria, and spraying a saline solution (salt and water) into the pocket to flush it helps healing. Keep the pocket clear of debris and massage the gums to help close the gap.
If this treatment isn’t enough, or it keeps recurring, discuss the need to remove wisdom teeth with your Houston dentist. Once the wisdom tooth comes out, the pocket becomes fully exposed, making cleaning much easier.