What happens if a wisdom tooth is not removed? Well, it depends. In some cases, wisdom teeth can cause significant pain and discomfort.
If you experience pain, infection, or gum disease, you should learn more about what emergency dentists do and how they can help you as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn more about wisdom teeth and what happens if a wisdom tooth is not removed.
Indicators of Healthy Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth grow in the mouth between the ages of 17 to 21 in most cases. The later eruption of these molars lends to the name of “wisdom teeth.” Wisdom teeth are considered vestigial, as modern food consumption no longer requires the additional molars for effective chewing.
Wisdom teeth typically don’t need to be removed if the teeth:
- Fully erupt from the gumline
- Have appropriate alignment for chewing
- Can be cleaned as part of your daily dental hygiene
Wisdom teeth that match the above description are healthy. You only need to practice regular oral hygiene with regular brushing, flossing, and professional oral health check-ups.
As the wisdom teeth push through the gum line, you may experience minor discomfort. Contact a trusted dentist if you experience more than a little discomfort during the eruption of the teeth. You may need x-rays to determine the cause of the pain you experience.
Some individuals may never develop wisdom teeth. There’s no cause for concern in this rare situation, though. These lucky individuals can avoid the potential issues wisdom teeth can cause for oral hygiene and overall health.
Warning Signs of Unhealthy Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth and potential overcrowding are two major issues that may develop after the wisdom teeth begin to descend from the gums. Each issue contributes to heightened risks that can harm your health. Learn more about each of these oral health issues here.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Unhealthy wisdom teeth can cause a variety of issues that ultimately impact your overall health in negative ways. These teeth may only partially erupt from the gum line or remain wholly hidden within the gums. In these cases, you may have impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of oral hygiene and general health issues, including:
- Difficulty removing tartar and plaque around the wisdom teeth
- Creation of pockets between gums and teeth that hold food and bacteria
- Increase in potential tooth decay and development of cavities
- Increase in risk for gum disease, oral infections, and abscesses
- Shifting sideways or backward and interfering with chewing
You may need to have your wisdom teeth removed if the teeth are impacted. The type of extraction you need will depend on the location, depth, and maturity of the wisdom teeth. It is safer to have wisdom teeth removed as early as possible to prevent complications.
Wisdom teeth that are not fully developed will have smaller roots than older, more developed wisdom teeth. Mature wisdom teeth roots can reach more deeply into the jaw. Extracting these more mature roots can cause nerve damage in and around the mouth.
Overcrowding Caused by Wisdom Teeth
In some cases, wisdom teeth may cause overcrowding. This overcrowding often occurs due to the slow evolution of the human mouth to be smaller. Overcrowding can be most noticeable when wisdom teeth come in after completing orthodontic treatments like braces.
What happens if a wisdom tooth is not removed in the case of overcrowding? The potential issues include:
- Difficulty cleaning teeth
- Shifting teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Cracking or breaking of teeth
Early removal of wisdom teeth can prevent the issues listed above. In the case of orthodontic treatments, you can discuss potential concerns about wisdom teeth. Your dentist and orthodontist can offer insight into the best approach for your wisdom teeth.
When To Consider Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Oral health is an essential factor in overall health. Tooth extraction can help treat and prevent various oral health complications. You might consider Tampa, FL, professional teeth extraction if you experience any of the following:
- Extensive tooth decay
- Tenderness or swelling of the gums
- Pain in the jaw, gums, or surrounding areas
- Gum disease
- Cysts or fluid-filled sacs in the gum
- Oral tumors
- Damaged, cracking, or broken teeth due to overcrowding
- Repeated or continuous infection of the soft tissues or dental roots
- Persistent bad breath
- Foul taste originating in the mouth
The American Dental Association recommends wisdom tooth extraction in these cases to prevent long-lasting damage to your oral and overall health. Read more about the importance of extracting wisdom teeth and preventing oral infections below.
The Importance of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Teeth damaged by impaction or overcrowding related to wisdom teeth eruption are far more susceptible to bacteria and serious oral infections. If your dentist cannot restore the tooth (or teeth) to a healthy state, removing the affected tooth or teeth generally offers the best solution.
If damaged wisdom teeth are not removed, they begin to collect food particles and bacteria that can’t be removed by brushing, flossing, or rinsing the mouth. Oral infections can easily develop in these pockets.
In severe cases, the resulting damage from the infection can make it impossible for antibiotics to work. The potential long-term damage from the infection can include:
- Weakened jawbone
- Broken jaw
- Loose teeth from lack of jawbone support
- Weakened internal organs
- Life-threatening septicemia
Long-term oral infections in wisdom teeth can eventually spread from the original site of infection. The infection may spread to the sinus, the brain, or the blood. This severe complication can become life-threatening without the appropriate oral treatments.
Now you know what happens if a wisdom tooth is not removed. For timely and professional emergency dental service in Tampa, call Westchase Smiles Institute at (813) 920-9144.