Wisdom teeth can be a pain – literally! These large molars, which typically begin their journey towards eruption when a person is between 18 and 25 years of age, no longer serve a purpose. Our modern, slimmed-down jaws just can’t accommodate their size, and we don’t need them for chewing like our ancient ancestors did. If your wisdom teeth are giving you problems, or if you want to prevent potential issues with these large teeth, Fairbanks AK dentists Dr. Fred Bast and Dr. John Bast have got you covered!
So What’s the Problem?
Wisdom teeth don’t just cause one problem – they can cause many. First, as these teeth start to make their way though gum tissue and bone, they can get stuck. This is called impaction. Bony impaction occurs when a tooth becomes mired in bone. A tooth trapped in gum tissue suffers what’s called a soft-tissue impaction. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain and pressure. If the tooth is partially erupted through the gum line, bacteria can invade the “pocket” of tissue surrounding the tooth and cause infection.
Even if a wisdom tooth makes it though bone and gum without any problems, it can crowd existing teeth. Because there’s no place for it to reside, it has to push aside other teeth. This dental pushing and shoving can cause straight teeth to become crooked. Overlapping teeth are harder to clean, so bacteria hangs around. This can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, crooked teeth just aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as straight, properly positioned ones. Your bite (the way top and bottom teeth fit together) can change, too. A misaligned bite may cause problems with chewing and throw the jaw joints out of whack.
What Can You Do?
First, schedule an appointment at Bast Dental. If your wisdom teeth haven’t yet made an appearance, X-rays can help the doctor identify their position and plan appropriate treatment. Often, proactive removal of wisdom teeth is the prescribed course of action to prevent future problems. If a wisdom tooth is impacted or fully erupted, extraction can restore your smile’s health and function.
Call us today to schedule a consultation.