Are You Ignoring Your Wisdom Teeth? Here’s What Could Happen

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
A big tooth on a blue background that symbolizes issues related to not removing the wisdom teeth.
Keeping your wisdom teeth can also increase your risk for gum disease.

Ignoring your wisdom teeth could lead to a variety of painful consequences. From infections and cavities to impacted teeth and damage to adjacent teeth, leaving your wisdom teeth untreated can have serious effects on your oral health. In this article, we’ll explore the risks of not taking action with your wisdom teeth and what you should do if you suspect an issue.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third molars located at the back of your mouth. They typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25, although some people may not have them appear until later in life. Wisdom teeth can be challenging to care for because of their location and size. If they become impacted or unable to erupt into the proper position, it can lead to a variety of problems, such as gum disease and infections. In this case, wisdom teeth removal by an oral surgeon is often necessary to preserve oral health.

When wisdom teeth don’t come through correctly, they can cause overcrowding in the mouth, which may cause other teeth to become misaligned or crooked. This can lead to gum disease due to bacteria buildup caused by food particles being trapped around the wisdom tooth area. Additionally, if left untreated, the wisdom tooth itself may become impacted and create an infection that requires antibiotics or more extensive treatment.

It’s important to speak with your dentist about any concerns you have regarding your wisdom teeth so you can develop an appropriate plan for treatment if necessary. Your dentist may even recommend that you visit an oral surgeon who specializes in wisdom teeth removal if they believe it is necessary for preserving your overall oral health.

What happens if you don’t remove your wisdom teeth?

If you’ve been ignoring your wisdom teeth and leaving them untreated, it’s time to take action. Without the removal of these teeth, a plethora of problems can arise. Here’s what could happen if you don’t remove your wisdom teeth:

Short-Term Consequences of Not Removing Your Wisdom Teeth

Crowding of Other Teeth

If your wisdom teeth are left untreated, they can cause overcrowding of your other teeth. This can lead to severe pain and discomfort as the nearby teeth become impacted by the wisdom tooth. Additionally, if the wisdom tooth becomes infected, it can spread to nearby healthy teeth and cause further damage. Ignoring this issue can worsen the problem, so it is important to take action as soon as possible.

Pain & Discomfort

If you don’t take care of your wisdom teeth, you may experience pain and discomfort. The impacted wisdom tooth can cause a painful infection that may require antibiotics and regular use of an ice pack to reduce swelling and inflammation. If the infection is severe enough, it can cause a dry socket which is a condition where the blood clot that normally forms after a tooth extraction fails to form. This can be extremely uncomfortable and requires treatment with a special medicated dressing to help promote healing. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be necessary to manage the discomfort associated with these conditions.

Infection & Decay

Without proper treatment, wisdom teeth can lead to extensive tooth decay, bacterial infection, and an increased risk of complications. These issues can quickly spread to the surrounding teeth and compromise your overall dental health. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from your wisdom teeth, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage and tooth loss. An experienced oral surgeon may recommend removal in order to prevent further damage and restore optimal dental health.

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)

Gum infection, gum tissue damage, and dental issues can all be a result of not properly caring for your wisdom teeth. Gum infection can occur as a result of bacteria that is trapped around the affected area due to overcrowding or impacted teeth. This can lead to painful swelling and redness in the gum line, as well as bad breath and bleeding. Additionally, gum tissue damage can occur if the wisdom teeth are left untreated for too long, resulting in chronic inflammation and infection. Dental issues such as decay, cavities, and misalignment can also arise from ignoring your wisdom teeth, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure your oral health is being properly maintained.

Long-Term Consequences of Not Removing Your Wisdom Teeth

Jaw Cyst Formation (Odontogenic Keratocysts)

If your wisdom teeth are left untreated, it can cause jaw pain and even deterioration of the jaw bone. Ignoring your wisdom teeth can also lead to the formation of cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in the jaw, known as odontogenic keratocysts. These cysts can damage surrounding teeth, bone, and tissue, which can be very painful and difficult to treat. Additionally, if the cyst becomes infected, it may require antibiotics or even surgery to remove it. To avoid this type of complication, it is important to seek treatment for your wisdom teeth as soon as possible.

Dental Damage

Without proper orthodontic treatment, wisdom teeth can cause permanent damage to adult teeth. Wisdom teeth can potentially push or crowd other adult teeth and force them out of place, especially if the individual does not have braces or other orthodontic treatments. This can lead to crooked and misaligned teeth that may require costly orthodontic treatment to correct. Additionally, leaving wisdom teeth unchecked can also increase the risk of cavities and decay due to bacteria buildup in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

Bone Loss

If your wisdom teeth remain impacted or overcrowded, it can lead to crooked teeth as well as potential damage to the tooth roots. This is because the affected wisdom teeth will often push against the other teeth and cause them to become misaligned. Additionally, due to the pressure from the impacted wisdom tooth, the roots of your teeth may become weakened and prone to decay. If left untreated for too long, bone loss can occur, which can lead to further dental problems down the road. It’s important to seek treatment from an experienced oral surgeon in order to prevent any long-term damage or complications to your oral health.

Heart Disease

Ignoring your wisdom teeth can lead to gum disease and infection, which can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream. This bacteria can travel to other parts of the body, including the heart, potentially causing inflammation and damage to the arteries. This can increase the risk of developing heart disease or other cardiovascular problems. Therefore, by neglecting proper treatment for your wisdom teeth, you are not only jeopardizing your dental health but also putting your overall health at risk by potentially contributing to the development of heart disease. It is crucial to address any issues with your wisdom teeth promptly to avoid these serious consequences.

The Best Treatment for Wisdom Teeth Issues

The three best treatments for wisdom teeth related issues are extraction, orthodontic treatment, and regular dental check-ups. Extraction is often recommended for impacted or overcrowded wisdom teeth to prevent further complications such as gum infection, dental damage, and bone loss. This surgical procedure can help alleviate pain and discomfort while also preserving the health of surrounding teeth and gums.

Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners, can be used to correct any misalignment caused by wisdom teeth pushing against other teeth. By addressing the root cause of the issue, orthodontic treatment can help prevent long-term dental damage and ensure proper alignment of the teeth. Additionally, orthodontic treatment can improve overall oral health and aesthetics by promoting a straighter smile.

Regular dental check-ups are essential in maintaining optimal oral health and catching any potential issues with wisdom teeth early on. By visiting your dentist regularly, you can receive professional guidance on how to care for your wisdom teeth and address any concerns before they escalate into larger problems. Your dentist can provide personalized advice on how to properly clean around your wisdom teeth, monitor their growth and development, and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary.

Overall, staying proactive with your dental care through regular check-ups is key to preventing complications related to wisdom teeth.

What Is It Like Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Knowing what to expect from wisdom teeth removal surgery can help you feel less anxious about the procedure.

First things first, while there’s some pain and swelling involved with wisdom teeth removal, it’s not really as bad as people might think. The procedure itself is usually performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation, although cases in which one or more molars are severely impacted may call for general anesthesia. This means that you will not feel any pain during the removal process.

If your wisdom teeth haven’t fully erupted, your oral surgeon will make a small incision in the gumline to extract the tooth and its connective tissues. Then, he will carefully close the area with dissolvable or removable stitches. The time it takes to remove wisdom teeth varies depending on the number of teeth and how impacted they are, but the surgery typically takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

A Decision You Will Not Regret

Having oral surgery is, admittedly, not a fun experience. But if your dentist has recommended having your wisdom teeth removed, it’s best to act sooner rather than later. Miami periodontist Dr. John Paul Gallardo performs wisdom teeth removal, as well as other oral surgery procedures, including gum disease treatment and implants. Click here to schedule an appointment with the periodontists at Gallardo Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, or call (305) 447-1447 to learn more about your options for wisdom tooth removal and Invisalign cost in Miami today.