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When Do You Need to Pull Your Wisdom Teeth?

Your third molars — more often referred to as wisdom teeth —  typically emerge during the late teen years. Unlike your other molars, wisdom teeth don’t always emerge easily. In fact, 80% of individuals have at least one wisdom tooth that doesn’t even emerge at all. Because wisdom teeth can cause problems even if they do erupt from the gums, many teens and young adults have their teeth removed. But how do you know if you need to pull your wisdom teeth

Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro at The Dental Center of Hercules surgically removes problematic wisdom teeth as well as teeth that are very likely to cause future problems. In the article below, Dr. Teodoro shares the seven signs it’s time to consider an extraction. 

1. You have pain in the back of your mouth

Cavities, infections, and fractured teeth are all potential sources of oral pain. However, pain in the back of your mouth may indicate a problem with your wisdom teeth. You might notice:

Wisdom teeth can cause pain if the shifting tooth presses on your nerves.

2. Your gums are red and swollen

Gingivitis can cause red or swollen gums, but so can emerging wisdom teeth. As your teeth start to push through your gums, your gums might be red, tender, and swollen. 

3. Your wisdom teeth are impacted

Erupting wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort, but even if your tooth is trapped beneath your gums, it can also cause problems. When your wisdom tooth does not erupt, it’s known as an impacted tooth. While this might not seem like an issue at first, impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain near your molars. You might even see cysts develop.

Impacted teeth may grow at abnormal angles. For example, the wisdom tooth might be angled toward your second molar, the back of your mouth, or it may lay completely flat. Sometimes impacted teeth are angled correctly (i.e. upward) but just don’t erupt.

4. You have an infection from a partially impacted tooth

It’s possible for teeth to emerge partway, and then, due to space issues, fail to erupt fully. These teeth are called partially impacted and carry a risk of becoming infected. If bacteria gets trapped under your tooth or gums, you might notice the following signs of an infection:

Severe infections may also result in a fever.

5. Lack of space is causing cavities

One of the problems with wisdom teeth is that many people just don’t have the room for them. Crowding can make it harder to floss thoroughly, which then increases your risk of developing a cavity in between your second and third molars. 

6. Lack of space causes your other teeth to shift

Not only does crowding make it harder to floss, but if your mouth is cramped, your wisdom teeth can shift your other teeth out of place. This can lead to misaligned and crooked teeth.

7. You’re at risk for any of the above symptoms

You don’t need to wait until your wisdom teeth have caused a problem before you take action. Removing wisdom teeth that are likely to cause these problems can help you avoid unwanted complications.

If you or your teen have concerns about wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment at our Hercules, California, office. Give us a call at 510-254-3328 or schedule a consultation online.

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