Wisdom teeth, those troublesome third molars which typically appear during late adolescence when we are presumably older and wiser, are often a cause for concern among patients in our dental practice. To remove wisdom teeth or not? That is a common question.
There are cases when wisdom teeth do not need to be removed: if they are healthy, grown in and positioned properly, and able to be cleaned as part of daily brushing and flossing.
However, wisdom teeth often don’t have room to grow and cause problems as they grow or try to erupt. As they are erupting, wisdom teeth can grow at various angles in the jaw, sometimes horizontally. They are difficult to clean, may be more susceptible to gum disease and can affect the teeth in front of them. Symptoms that wisdom teeth need to be removed typically include pain, infection, and crowding or shifting of other teeth.
So, how do you know when it’s wise to leave them alone or necessary to remove them? Your dentist will closely examine your mouth, gums, and teeth during routine examinations to visibly detect signs of your wisdom teeth erupting or gum swelling and infection in the area of your wisdom teeth. Also, it’s important to report any discomfort you are feeling or shifting of your teeth.
Should You Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
We’ve created a helpful infographic illustrating the signs that it’s time to remove your wisdom teeth.
Should You Remove Your Wisdom Teeth or Not?
Wisdom teeth may not need to be removed if they are:
- Grown in completely
- Positioned correctly and biting properly with their opposing teeth
- Able to be cleaned properly
Signs it’s time to remove wisdom teeth:
- Impacted wisdom teeth hidden within the gums
- An infection or cyst
- Damage to other teeth roots or bone support
- Partially erupted through the gums causing infection
- Crowding or damage to nearby teeth
Source: Mayo Clinic
In our practice, we have found that prevention is helpful when it comes to treating wisdom teeth. The most common age for removal of wisdom teeth is 17 to 21, before the roots and bone are fully formed. By that age, we know how much room there is likely to be in a patient’s mouth and whether or not the teeth have the room to erupt properly. We also consider that extractions of wisdom teeth as we age become more problematic because the bone is denser and our ability to heal quickly may be compromised.
Visit us at Ultimate Smile Design in Palm Bay, Florida for a check-up and to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your wisdom teeth. Our friendly staff and soothing dental office create the perfect setting for your dental care needs.
Check out this video from the American Dental Association to learn why wisdom teeth are often removed.
Related article: Tooth Extraction Causes and Aftercare