Why Monitor Wisdom Teeth?

Although wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure for teenagers, many people grow into adulthood with their wisdom teeth. Whether their wisdom teeth are impacted or have erupted, adults should monitor them and practice good wisdom tooth care. Wisdom teeth require extra attention because:

  • Their unique placement in the mouth can make exposed wisdom teeth especially difficult to floss, resulting in them being more susceptible to cavities, disease and decay.
  • Limited room in the mouth could result in crowding or damage to adjacent teeth as wisdom teeth erupt.
  • Cysts or tumors can grow around the impacted wisdom teeth, leading to more serious problems.

How to Monitor Wisdom Teeth

Practicing good wisdom tooth care includes regular brushing and flossing, but patients should spend some time monitoring the areas around the wisdom teeth. Pay extra attention when brushing around the gumline to remove any soft debris and discourage plaque formation. Try to notice if it becomes easier or more difficult to floss between the teeth.

Even if you practice excellent oral hygiene, it is still important for a professional to examine your wisdom teeth and determine if it’s time to have them removed. Proper wisdom teeth monitoring should include:

  • Regular professional cleanings
  • Annual check-ups
  • Periodic X-rays

Remember that when caring for wisdom teeth, pain-free does not necessarily mean disease-free.

When Wisdom Teeth Removal is Necessary

Rarely do all wisdom teeth erupt fully into the mouth without issue. For many patients, wisdom tooth extraction is a matter of “when” and not “if.” When weighing the pros and cons of surgery, patients should consider any of the following symptoms as an indication for wisdom tooth removal:

  • Periodontal disease or other infections
  • Cysts or tumors
  • Cavities that can’t be restored
  • Damage to neighboring teeth

Although some of these symptoms can be detected by the patient during routine home care, the only way to watch for them all is to make regular visits to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). Because of the many possible side effects of impacted wisdom teeth, it is often recommended that patients have them removed before they erupt. The worst thing to do is to ignore wisdom teeth!

Contact an OMS about Wisdom Teeth Care

The oral and maxillofacial surgeon is an expert in face, mouth and jaw surgery, including the care of wisdom teeth. Contact an OMS to learn more about proper wisdom tooth monitoring and care.

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.