Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to appear. These third molars usually begin to surface in your late teens. In some cases, they may not erupt until you’re much older. For some people, wisdom teeth may never surface.
While some like to keep their wisdom teeth intact, a large number of people opt for wisdom tooth removal even before they have fully erupted.
There are many benefits of getting your wisdom teeth removed, however, you may not always need to get them removed.
When You Can Keep Your Wisdom Teeth
There may be no need to get your wisdom teeth removed if they:
- Have fully grown in the right direction
- Do not cause pain or difficulty in biting, speaking, etc.
- Can be cleaned properly.
Sadly, very few people have a perfect set of wisdom teeth and most will have to eventually have them removed. This is why most dentists suggest getting wisdom tooth removal before they appear.
Why Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed Before They Appear
Dentists recommend regular dental visits and to specifically have your wisdom teeth checked when you are in your late teen, specifically between 17 and 25 years of age.
Your dentist will inspect your teeth and recommend the right plan based on your oral health. It might be in your best interest to undergo wisdom tooth removal if it appears that they cannot break through your gums or if there are other health risks.
Getting them removed at an early age ensures less pain and discomfort. You will heal faster when you’re younger. Plus, it will be easier to remove the teeth if they have not fully formed and are still soft.
In fact, most dentists will not suggest you get your wisdom teeth removed if you are already in your 30s — unless the teeth are causing you major dental problems.
What Kind of Problems Can Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Wisdom teeth need space to grow. If your jaw is full, they may get impacted and will be unable to break through. This can lead to crowding which may result in swollen and painful gums.
Here are some other signs that indicate you should get your wisdom teeth removed.
Since wisdom teeth cannot be straightened out by wearing braces, the only option is to have them extracted.
You may not have to get all your wisdom teeth removed, as only the teeth that have not grown in the right direction or those that are causing problems will need to be extracted.
Your dentist will examine your oral health and give you a complete picture of the condition. Our mouth is made to have 28 teeth. While some people can handle the four extra teeth, especially if they grow well, that may not be the case with everyone.
Cavities and Gum Diseases
Wisdom teeth that have broken out of your gums may also lead to problems including gum diseases and cavities. Since they are at the end of the mouth, it can be very hard to clean them.
Poor oral hygiene can cause these teeth to get damaged very quickly. This is a risky situation as one damaged tooth may cause other teeth to get damaged as well.
Pain and Discomfort
Wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort. It’s important to visit a dentist if you have sharp or constant pain in the wisdom teeth as it may also be a sign of something serious, including gum issues.
While the pain may go away on its own in some cases, you may need treatment or medication if the pain is severe.
Poorly grown wisdom teeth can also lead to cysts that can be bad for the roots and bones. A cyst is basically a sac that grows next to a tooth. It’s full of fluid that may even turn into a tumor, requiring additional procedures.
Difficulty Speaking and Eating
Over or poorly grown wisdom teeth can make it difficult to speak or eat. If such is the case, then it’s best to visit a dentist and get the teeth removed. This is important because the wisdom teeth may put pressure on your other teeth, causing them to get damaged as well.
It’s common for wisdom teeth to be crooked. This situation is risky as it may cause other teeth to shift and move, affecting your entire mouth. Getting your wisdom teeth removed might be the only solution if this is the case.
This may come as a surprise to many but wisdom teeth can lead to sinus issues. Upper wisdom teeth can rub and push against the sinuses leading to pain and discomfort.
They can cause congestion and headaches. In such a scenario, getting them removed might be the only option to ease the pressure and issues.
Who Can Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
Almost all dentists offer wisdom tooth extractions. It is a very common procedure.
Back in the day, tooth extraction was painful. However, thanks to modern medicine and the availability of sedation, the process has changed. Most patients do not feel any pain or discomfort during extraction.
The procedure can be completed in a single sitting and you’d be allowed to eat and drink within a few hours of the surgery. However, the dentist may not extract two or more wisdom teeth on the same day.
It’s best to speak to your dentist about how many wisdom teeth you need to get removed and how they would like to perform the procedure.
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Author: Monica Neely DDS
Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1995 and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases. Visit her website at monicaneelydds.com.