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Ages ago our ancestors need the third molars, or wisdom teeth to chew the kind of food they ate. Now that our diets have evolved and our jaws are smaller than theirs there isn’t really room for these extra teeth. For some people, they never seem to cause problems. For most though, they can cause problems, both currently and down the road.

Your wisdom teeth are vulnerable because they are difficult to clean, sitting so far back in the mouth, making them hard to brush and floss correctly. This makes them prone to dental caries and gum disease. How do you know if your wisdom teeth are causing you problems? If you experience the following, you should see your dentist:

Wisdom Tooth Symptoms:

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

To determine if your wisdom teeth require removal, your dentist will examine your mouth and take X-rays. It will be noted how they have emerged, if they are sideways or straight, crowding nearby teeth, or throwing off your bite and alignment. If cysts have developed around your wisdom teeth, this can hollow out the jaw and damage nerves. They can also wreak havoc with your sinuses, causing pressure, pain and congestion. In addition to causing gum inflammation, swollen gums can create pockets in between the teeth that encourages bacteria and cavities.

Impaction occurs when the wisdom teeth remain inside the gum tissue or the jawbone, or only partially break through the gums. When this happens, harmful bacteria come in through the opening, surround the tooth, and cause infection, which can result in jaw stiffness, pain, and swelling.

If your teeth are experiencing any of these issues, it is important not to ignore them as they can only get worse. If you have concerns or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Margaret Romeo, please call Romeo Dentistry at 904-259-5007 today!