Wisdom teeth are the last teeth that a person grows in their lifetime. Typically, these teeth begin to emerge in adolescence. However, the presence of wisdom teeth can cause many problems, from tooth overcrowding to pain. Having their wisdom teeth surgically extracted is the best choice for many people. These are four signs that you need your wisdom teeth removed: 

1. Your X-rays show the possibility of impaction.

Hopefully, you visit your dentist's office every six months for regular checkups. Having X-rays taken once a year is standard, and these X-rays can monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth. Often, wisdom teeth don't grow completely straight. They may grow at an angle that poses a risk to your jawbone and nearby teeth. People with small mouths may also be at risk of overcrowding, even if their wisdom teeth grow in at the correct angle. Having your wisdom teeth removed can prevent pain and damage to the rest of your teeth.

2. They are causing you pain.

Wisdom teeth often cause pain while they grow in. As wisdom teeth emerge from your gums, you may feel soreness and tenderness. You may also feel an ache in your jaw. This pain will typically persist until your wisdom teeth have completely come in or you have them removed. Wisdom teeth removal is an effective way to rid yourself of the pain that these teeth cause.

3. You have developed an infection or cyst.

Some people develop infections or cysts around the roots of their wisdom teeth. Cysts are fluid-filled pockets that are often swollen and painful. Your dentist can relieve the pain of a cyst or abscess by draining it through an incision if it is located near the surface of your gums. Antibiotics may also help to reduce infection. However, it's likely that your infection will recur unless you deal with it at the source by having your wisdom teeth removed.

4. Food gets trapped behind your wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth grow at the very back of a person's mouth. Unfortunately, many people's mouths are too small to accommodate additional teeth. Getting food trapped behind your wisdom teeth may be a common occurrence, which can contribute to plaque and tartar buildup, as well as subsequent tooth decay. If you struggle to keep your wisdom teeth clean, extraction may be the best option. Wisdom teeth extraction can prevent painful cavities and help you avoid a root canal in the future.

Contact a local orthodontist office, such as Conestoga Oral Surgery, to learn more.