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Wisdom Teeth – To keep or not to keep

Wisdom teeth are technically referred to as the third molars. These are the last teeth to come in during young adulthood at a time where people are acquiring “wisdom” about life. Typically third molars emerge when people are between the ages of 17 and 25. The once commonly held wisdom was that all wisdom teeth needed to be removed in order to be safe. Though, these days some wisdom teeth can be kept for life as long as they are healthy and positioned properly.

So, how do you decide to keep or not to keep your wisdom teeth? As a part of your visit at the Shane McDowell Dentistry, we will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted or in the right position. We will also check for healthy gum tissue and the environment surrounding your third molars.

An impacted tooth is unable to break through a person’s gums because there is not enough room. If your tooth is impacted, it would most likely need to be removed. This is because if left in the mouth, impacted wisdom teeth can potentially damage nearby teeth, or become infected. Impacted teeth can also cause the formation of cysts. When cysts develop they can lead to more serious issues, possibly damaging surrounding nerves, teeth and other areas of the mouth.

Since the condition of your mouth changes over time, even if you are not experiencing symptoms from wisdom teeth eruption, it is very important to get your regular dental check-ups for monitoring. In general, if you experience the following symptoms, it may be time to remove your wisdom teeth:

  • Pain

  • Infection

  • Cysts

  • Tumors

  • Damage to neighboring teeth

  • Gum disease

  • Tooth decay

If you do decide to keep your wisdom teeth, please be sure to take special care of brushing and flossing your molar area. Annual x-rays of your wisdom teeth will also help to ensure the well-being of your teeth and gums is being monitored. We care about your daily oral health routine and look forward to continuing to serve you! For more information or to schedule an appointment with us, please visit our website at or call (239) 936-0597.

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