What Happens When Wisdom Teeth Are Not Removed

Dentist showing x-ray of teeth

Wisdom teeth are the only molars to grow later in life years after the rest of the adult teeth have already surfaced. In reality, these third molars often come in quickly, painfully, and can potentially cause a lot of issues if not removed. With that noted, it’s important to recognize when the wisdom teeth start to grow, what to expect, and why it is necessary to have them removed in most cases.

When Wisdom Teeth Start to Grow

In general, wisdom teeth grow in between the ages of 17-25. Apart from growing naturally during adolescence and early adulthood, wisdom teeth can appear as the result of many types of growth spurts. So even if they don’t come in at the expected age as a young adult, they can still grow later in life due to these factors. If you assume you won’t have issues with your wisdom teeth because you’re past the typical growth age, it is still possible for you to face problems down the road. It’s always better to have your wisdom teeth removed in the early stages of growth because the bone is still somewhat soft making the tooth easier to extract.

An interesting fact about wisdom teeth is they were once very necessary during human evolution. However, humans have evolved to no longer need these molars. They do not serve a functional purpose anymore and are more of a nuisance than anything. There are some people who will never grow wisdom teeth and don’t have to deal with the issues they cause, although most people will eventually need to have them removed for several reasons.

Symptoms of Growing Wisdom Teeth

In many cases, you won’t even notice your wisdom teeth at first because of their location in the very back of the mouth. As a result, it’s rare to visually detect the growth of your wisdom teeth without any other symptoms surfacing before. If you are not visiting your dentist regularly who would be able to detect the growth of your wisdom teeth with x-rays, you will begin to feel a sharp pain in your jaw or other teeth as the wisdom teeth start to come through.

As time progresses, the pain may become more severe and be accompanied by difficulty eating, bleeding gums, bad breath, and intense sensitivity in surrounding teeth. These symptoms are a result of the overcrowding of the teeth in your mouth caused by the additional molars. This increasing discomfort will only get worse as time passes and is a clear sign you need your wisdom teeth removed.

Dangers of Ignoring Wisdom Teeth Pain

In some cases, patients don’t have these teeth removed because they do not have an effect on the rest of the teeth or jaw. Alternatively, these molars will keep growing until they cause dental issues for most people, in addition to the pain and discomfort described earlier. Even if they haven’t broken through the surface of your gums yet, you could have parts of your wisdom teeth growing sideways into the surrounding molars or jaw bone. This is known as an impacted tooth and can potentially cause severe health problems, beyond just dental issues.

In addition, the increased pressure caused by the wisdom teeth may result in numbness in your jaw and face. Because most wisdom teeth do not grow in perfectly straight, infections, irritation, and overcrowding are almost certain if the wisdom teeth are not removed. This could eventually lead to the need for orthodontic or periodontal treatments. If you can’t see your dentist right away when experiencing discomfort, there are home remedies that will alleviate some of the pain caused by wisdom teeth until you can see a dental professional.

More on Infections and Wisdom Teeth

For those of you who haven’t heard of the mouth-body connection, the basic principle is the health of your mouth is very closely related to your overall health in general. If there is infection present in your mouth, it can have a very negative impact on other areas of the body, including the heart. This is also true when it comes to infections caused by impacted wisdom teeth and gum disease.

It is suspected that infection and disease in the mouth can cause inflammation, not only in the specific area where the infection is present but also in the blood vessels throughout the body. This leads to increased blood pressure, as well as higher risks for heart attack and stroke. For this reason, it’s crucial to have your wisdom teeth removed if they are in any way causing issues while growing. Better yet, make sure to visit your dentist regularly to preemptively keep an eye on your wisdom teeth before they become a problem.

Wisdom Teeth Risk Summary

With all the risks involved with allowing your wisdom teeth to grow without professional intervention, it is essential for you to visit your dentist regularly to prevent these issues. By scheduling routine visits, your dentist will be able to x-ray and identify if your wisdom teeth are growing and could potentially cause painful symptoms or more serious problems. Be mindful of your teeth and never assume a persistent pain is just going to go away on its own, especially if the discomfort is felt in your jaw or the back of your gumline. Ask your dental professional if wisdom teeth extraction is a good option for you if you haven’t already had them removed.

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