Wisdom teeth are often first seen on x-rays conducted during regular appointments at my Chapel Hill dental office. Most often, we can see them as they’re beginning to rise to the surface and erupt through the gum line. It’s also when we’re most likely to recommend that they be removed. In fact, about 90% of Americans get their wisdom teeth taken out. But why can’t they just stay there?
“It’s Crowded in Here!”
The #1 reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there isn’t enough room in your mouth for these four back molars, or “third molars” to fit. We can usually tell if this will be factor from your x-rays. That’s usually when we’ll start working with you to plan removal. If your regular visits aren’t maintained and your wisdom teeth try to erupt into a mouth without adequate room, they can become “stuck” in your bone. When this happens, your wisdom teeth are referred to as being impacted. Your Chapel Hill dentist will typically like to avoid this scenario and catch the problem before impaction occurs.
Bacteria Love Them
If your wisdom teeth do fully erupt and appear to be otherwise all right, meaning there’s no overcrowding, pain, or changes in the function of your bite, all may not stay this ideal for long. Another main reason wisdom teeth have to be removed is that they are very difficult to take care of. They’re hard to brush and floss properly and are at increased risk for cavities and gum disease. If we catch any potential problems lurking in the dark corners of your wisdom teeth during visits to my Chapel Hill dental office, we may recommend they be removed to keep your smile healthy and at lower risk for more cavities or dangerous gum disease.
When to Leave Them Alone
It’s rare, but sometimes wisdom teeth grow in just fine and there’s no reason to have them removed. It’s usually all right to leave your wisdom teeth alone if they’re healthy, positioned so as to not inhibit proper bite or neighboring teeth, and are able to be cleaned properly. Additionally, some people may not ever have to worry about whether to leave their wisdom teeth or get them removed because sometimes, the teeth just aren’t there.
Not only can regular visits at my dental office in Chapel Hill help get and keep your mouth healthy, they can also catch any potential problems with your wisdom teeth before they arise. If your wisdom teeth are already causing pain, or removal wasn’t recommended in time before they erupted, call to schedule your appointment today. We’ll make sure to recommend the best option for you and your wise molars.
Serving patients in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.