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Do Wisdom Teeth Affect Your Oral Health?

Man holding cheek in pain

Wisdom teeth are a unique aspect of our dental anatomy. Originally wisdom teeth are believed to be an evolutionary answer to our ancestors’ strict diet, who chewed stiff leaves, roots, and nuts. Nowadays, our diets consist of softer foods high in energy, and today, these teeth have become an unnecessary evolutionary addition to our teeth. Wisdom teeth are now the source of many oral health problems and are the most commonly impacted teeth in the mouth. But how do wisdom teeth affect a person’s health?

What Happens With Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the back sets of teeth that attempt to come through the gums, and at most, make it a bit difficult to chew and clean. Wisdom teeth, when impacted, can create a lot of problems for a developing mouth, including:

  • When stuck inside the gums, the teeth can grow and shift inside the jawbone, adjacently moving healthy teeth into misaligned positions. The misalignment can cause the teeth to become more vulnerable to plaque buildup.

  • Wisdom teeth can also cause gum disease due to how wisdom teeth can impact healthy teeth. As the development of plaque builds up, that plaque can get into and underneath the gums.

  • Over time, as the wisdom teeth that haven’t erupted grow, it can damage the nerves throughout the muscles’ soft tissues. This can cause long-term damage to the jawbone and potentially lead to TMJ disorder.

  • Wisdom teeth that are impacted can also form cysts due to the pressure created from the teeth’ continued growth. These cysts can damage the roots of any nearby teeth and potentially destroy the jawbone over time.

For patients who don’t wish to remove their wisdom teeth, they should still monitor the health of their teeth and wisdom teeth, as these issues can happen at any point, significantly if the wisdom teeth are impacted. If you wish to keep an eye on your dental health, keep an eye on these symptoms when maintaining your wisdom teeth:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Infections

  • Signs of shifting of the neighboring teeth

  • Early signs of gum disease

  • Signs of tooth decay

  • Small, isolated cysts

Why Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?

Your wisdom teeth have a drastic impact on how your mouth forms and sharpens overtime. Wisdom teeth have a high possibility of creating long-term health problems in the future if not removed. In severe cases, an oral surgeon will need to remove some of the soft tissues and bones within your mouth and reform them back to health, depending on the long-term effects done by the wisdom teeth. Even wisdom teeth that have erupted naturally can cause gingivitis and tooth decay due to the difficulty cleaning the back molars and the difficulty flossing between the wisdom tooth and second-to-last molar.

Dental misalignment, cavities, and periodontal disease can cause long-term damages and long-term costs. To learn more about how we go about treating wisdom teeth, contact Dr. Karmen Massih at Massih Orthodontics in Glendale, CA, for more information.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.
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