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Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, arrive in the back of the mouth behind your second molars. They may never give you problems, but when they do, it can be problematic. They are difficult to clean, brushing and flossing, because of where they are located. This makes them susceptible to dental caries and gum disease. While they were necessary for our ancestors long ago, they are no longer needed for healthy functioning, as our diets have dramatically changed.

What are some of the problems encountered with wisdom teeth? If they come in sideways, they can crowd nearby teeth, throw off your bite or alignment, and cause tooth decay and gum disease–especially if they only partially erupt. If cysts develop around the wisdom teeth, they can hollow out the jaw and damage nerves. They can also wreak havoc with your sinuses, causing pressure, pain and congestion. Not only can they cause gum inflammation on the tissue, making the swelling hard to clean, the swollen gums can create pockets in between the teeth that encourages bacteria and cavities.

You may notice that your wisdom teeth are causing problems if you have the following symptoms:

–Jaw pain or ache
–Pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth
–Misalignment of the surrounding teeth
–Bad breath and unpleasant taste when eating
–Red, swollen gums where the molars are
–A raw gum line in the back of the mouth

Your wisdom teeth can become impacted if they are still inside the gum tissue or the jawbone, or only partially breaking through or erupting in the gums. If this occurs, bacteria come in through the opening, surround the tooth, and cause infection. If infection arises, you can experience jaw stiffness, pain, and swelling.

Typically, if a wisdom tooth is causing problems it will be recommended to be removed, as this will prevent additional problems down the road. Our dentist will evaluate your situation and discuss your options. If you have any signs or symptoms and would like to be seen, call our team at Olympia Dental Group at 360-943-4777 today!