When most people think about wisdom teeth, cavities aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, they may remember their own wisdom teeth removal procedure or might recount stories of woe from friends or relatives who have endured pain and discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth or the removal process itself.
But did you know that if left in place, wisdom teeth can develop cavities? In fact, they’re more likely to develop cavities than other teeth because of their placement in the mouth. Wisdom teeth are often referred to as the “third molars” because of their location in the very back of the jaw. Most adults do not have adequate room in their mouth for these large molars. The teeth may erupt crooked, only partially or may not be able to pierce the gum line at all. Awkward eruption angles and crowding caused by wisdom teeth set up the perfect conditions for excess plaque, tartar and eventual decay to occur. This decay can occur on any tooth where dental plaque is left unaddressed for periods of time, but wisdom teeth are especially susceptible to cavities due to their location in the mouth.
So what is the best course of action if you develop a cavity in one of your wisdom teeth? Well, it really depends on the situation. If there is enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to fully erupt without causing crowding or damage to your other teeth, and the position of the tooth allows it to be effectively cleaned going forward, then a traditional dental filling may be the best course of action.
But with most wisdom teeth, this isn’t the case. Wisdom teeth frequently erupt improperly (and sometimes not at all) and cause pain, crowding, damage to other teeth and a wealth of other problems. If you have developed a cavity in one of your wisdom teeth and are faced with additional challenges due to the placement your wisdom teeth, your dentist or oral care provider may recommend wisdom tooth removal not just as a way to address the cavity and decay, but also to protect your other teeth, your jaw and your overall health.
Although oral surgery to remove wisdom teeth seems like an extreme treatment for a cavity, it is important to remember that not only will the procedure remove the tooth with the decay, removal of the third molars will also prevent future decay of those teeth and negative impacts to your other teeth and your oral health overall.
Are you nervous about possible wisdom teeth removal, cavity treatment or dental visits overall? Don’t let dental anxiety get the best of you! Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about your fears and concerns. Today’s oral health care providers use a variety of tips, tricks, tools and anxiety relieving processes to make your routine dental care and special dental procedures as comfortable and anxiety free as possible. The most important thing to remember is to not ignore your oral health. Schedule regular cleanings and contact you dentist if you have discomfort, pain, questions or concerns.
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