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When your third molars come in, commonly known as the wisdom teeth, they can sit in the back of your mouth and not cause problems. But because of how hard they are to clean, sitting so far back in the mouth, they can easily get cavities and gum disease. And unlike our ancestors who needed the extra teeth for chewing, our diets don’t necessitate their use anymore.

If these molars come in sideways, they can crowd surrounding teeth, throw off your bite or alignment, and can 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. How can you tell if you are having problems with your wisdom teeth?

You may experience some of the following symptoms:

–A raw gum line in the back
–Jaw pain or ache
–Pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth
–Gum tenderness near the molars
–Misalignment of the surrounding teeth
–Bad breath and unpleasant taste when eating

If your wisdom teeth become impacted, they can still be tucked inside the gum tissue or the jawbone, or only partially breaking through or erupting in the gums. When this happens, bacteria get in through the opening, surround the tooth, and cause infection. If infection arises, you can experience jaw stiffness, pain, and swelling. The best option for a wisdom tooth that is causing problems is to remove it, preventing additional problems down the road. Your dentist can evaluate your situation and discuss your options. If you have any signs or symptoms and would like to be seen, call our dental team at Hawkins Family Dentistry at 740-423-8416 today!