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Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Occasionally these teeth grow in normally and are a healthy addition to your mouth, but more often there is not sufficient room for them, and they are misaligned and must be removed or extracted.
Misaligned wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth present many potential problems when they are misaligned. They can position themselves horizontally by as much as 90 degrees, they can be angled toward or away from the second molars, or they can be angled inward or outward. Misaligned wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves. Wisdom teeth that lean toward the second molars make those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris. In addition, wisdom teeth can be entrapped completely within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially break through or erupt through the gum.
Wisdom teeth that remain partially or completely entrapped within the soft tissue and /or the jawbone are termed “impacted.” Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt allow for an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.
How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in your mouth. You should ask your dentist to examine the positioning of your wisdom teeth. An X-ray will help to determine the presence of wisdom teeth and their alignment in your mouth.
For people who are going away for a period of time, such as a college, it is often advisable to have your wisdom teeth examined before you leave. Your dentist may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is often done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done later and under circumstances where dental care is less available and advanced. Extracting wisdom teeth in young people is easier when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. Mid to late teen years is the best time to have wisdom teeth removed.
If you are concerned about your or your son or daughter’s wisdom teeth in the San Francisco, California area, please contact Innovative Dental. We can help you solve your wisdom teeth problem!
Call us at (415) 500-2116
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