While 35 percent of the U.S. population may not actually develop wisdom teeth, the rest of us have to grin and bear it — quite literally, until they’re removed.

But what purpose do they serve if wisdom teeth removal is inevitable? Well, wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. According to anthropologists and evolutionary theory, they serve the purpose of ”back up” molars in case any of our other molars fall out due to chewing hard, coarse foods.

Today, the foods we eat are far more palatable. And dental hygiene has come a long way. This means that wisdom teeth are not really necessary as the mouth only has room for 28 teeth, not 32. Here’s when it’s time for them to make their exit.

1. Recurring Earaches or Headaches

Bear in mind that wisdom teeth removal surgery is not always necessary. If your mouth can accommodate these four extra molars without any issues, then you don’t have to do anything about them.

However, if your jaw cannot accommodate these extra teeth due to a lack of space, or overcrowding, they’ll need to go. This is when wisdom teeth become impacted and cause a host of unwanted symptoms.

One of the most common is recurring issues with earaches and headaches. This is due to the pain of impacted wisdom teeth that can actually radiate up to other areas of the head, such as the ear canal. Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause headaches due to tension buildup in the jaw.

2. Persistent Jaw Pain

On the topic of your jaw, impacted wisdom teeth can also cause major issues with the structural integrity of this part of your face. As these teeth grow, they might push other teeth out of place, which affects the strength and health of your jaw.

All in all, this causes jaw pain as there’s just too little room for these teeth to move and settle into place. Along with jaw pain, you might also struggle with jaw stiffness and difficulty opening your mouth.

3. Unexplained Sinus Issues

It might sound odd — how can your teeth actually affect the function of your sinuses? But if your wisdom teeth begin to develop in your upper jaw, this can cause sinus irritation. Basically, the upper wisdom teeth push and rub against your sensitive sinuses which can cause recurring sinus issues.

Some of these include sinus congestion, sinus headaches, and sinus pressure. If you keep having recurring problems with your sinuses, you might want to get your mouth checked out by an oral surgeon or dentist.

4. Oral Cysts

What is a cyst, anyway? It’s a small sac of liquid that grows on the jaw or along the gum line. When your wisdom teeth come in, the pressure of these impacted teeth can cause oral cysts to form around your wisdom teeth.

One of the telltale signs of oral cysts is pain along the jaw or gum line. You might not be able to feel or see the cysts as they tend to grow underneath the skin, or sometimes they might appear above the skin at the back of the mouth.

It’s important that you address any type of mouth pain right away, as an unattended oral cyst could develop into an infection in the jaw or gum line.

5. Oral Inflammation

Not all wisdom teeth remain impacted. In many cases, they may break through the gum line, impacting the sensitive gum tissue surrounding it. The result is a painful, inflamed mouth. Not only that, but this type of inflammation can spread to your lymph nodes and result in a recurrent sore throat.

The end result is a sore and swollen mouth and throat that makes simple daily activities such as swallowing, chewing, and talking very difficult.

6. Issues With Bad Breath

No matter how diligent you are with your oral hygiene, the emergence of wisdom teeth can lead to instances of bad breath. Why? Because these teeth grow in especially hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth. As such, bacteria collects and festers in these areas, resulting in bad breath.

You might do your absolute best to clean the back of your mouth. But most of the time, it’s impossible to remove all the bacteria that collects in the back of the mouth when your wisdom teeth emerge. You might also notice a foul taste in your mouth, which is a sign of bacteria buildup.

7. Damaged or Decaying Teeth

Once again, it doesn’t matter how diligent you are with your oral hygiene. The growth of wisdom teeth can sometimes wreak havoc on your mouth without you knowing it. The issue with impacted wisdom teeth and tooth crowding is that it begins to impact all the other teeth in your mouth.

Wisdom teeth can cause your other teeth to shift out of place. In some cases, this could lead to the development of an overbite or underbite. The collection of bacteria in your mouth could also impact your other teeth, leading to tooth decay.

To add to this, mouth infections are not isolated to the mouth forever. They can spread to other parts of the body, too!

In Need of Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If you have any of the above symptoms and feel like wisdom teeth removal might be a necessity, allow our team at Georgia Facial and Oral Surgery to guide you through the process.

With some of the top maxillofacial and oral surgeons in the Suwanee region, you can rest assured that your oral health is in the best hands. Be sure to get in touch with us to schedule your next appointment or dental checkup and stay on top of your oral health!