Cavities and Wisdom Teeth Don't Mix
Some patients that come to Dr. Hudson for wisdom tooth extraction have had their wisdom teeth come in with enough room and no complications. While that situation seems ideal, the patient may still need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. This is because wisdom teeth are just like any other teeth in the sense that they are susceptible to developing cavities, but some differences make wisdom teeth different - and more difficult to treat for cavities. Dr. Hudson advises that patients have their wisdom teeth removed to avoid developing cavities in them, and reduce the risk of developing infections.
Wisdom teeth develop cavities for a few reasons. The first reason is that their location simply makes them harder to clean. They are located in the very back of the mouth, so they are hard to reach. The area is also obstructed in part by the back ridge of the lower jaw. This ridge partially covers the wisdom teeth when the mouth is closed, trapping food that can cause decay and bacterial growth. If the tooth is filled as part of a dental restoration, this decay could compromise the filling, and the patient may face needing to have the tooth extracted after all. There are very few dentists willing to fill wisdom teeth, and even less that would be willing to do a root canal to save one. Patients can practice excellent dental hygiene yet still develop cavities in their wisdom teeth because of the difficulty in keeping them clean.
Wisdom teeth have a little bit different of a design than other teeth. Wisdom teeth have more grooves and ridges than other teeth. These grooves and ridges were intended to help tear through or crack foods like raw meat or hard-shelled nut when wisdom teeth developed in our prehistoric ancestors. These grooves and ridges can trap food and accumulate bacteria. This bacteria can turn into plaque, which in turn can lead to periodontal disease.
Many dentists will also not fill wisdom teeth cavities because the teeth are hard to access and difficult to keep dry during the restoration process. Keeping the area dry is crucial to placing the filling. Wisdom teeth may also come in with plenty of room, but may be at odd angles. As a result, many dentists advise against filling cavities in the wisdom teeth and refer patients to Dr. Hudson for extraction. If you have questions about wisdom teeth and cavities or need to schedule your extraction consultation, call Dr. Hudson today at 888.724.7986.