Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of your mouth.
Often, your dentist will recommend the removal of your wisdom teeth even if they are not bothering you or causing any problems at all. Or it might be your teen-aged child’s dentist who is recommending your teen’s wisdom teeth be removed even though you child has never complained about them.
The reason for this is to prevent problems the wisdom teeth could cause in the future.
What are the problems that wisdom teeth can cause?
Usually, wisdom teeth don’t have room to grow. They grow in different angles and different directions, sometimes, horizontally. This can cause many kinds of problems.
If wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to grow, it can crowd the teeth nearby and even cause damage to them.
When a wisdom tooth is partially emerged through the gum, this can give passage to bacteria that cause gum disease and oral infection. And since this area is hard to clean, it can easily harbor bacteria.
Sometimes, a wisdom tooth doesn’t emerge at all. It can then become trapped in the jaw. This is also known as ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth, which can cause infection. It can also cause a cyst to grow and damage the roots of nearby teeth, or the bone support.
Can I not have my wisdom teeth removed?
Healthy wisdom teeth that have fully erupted (have grown in completely) in an upright and functional position don’t necessarily have to be removed as long as they are positioned correctly and are biting properly with the opposing teeth.
If they are not causing any pain and are able to be cleaned properly, there might not be any need for removal.
However, even when they come in correctly, they are still far back in the mouth and difficult to keep clean. This can cause problems over time.
Thorough daily cleaning and flossing, as well as regular dentist visit is essential to keep those wisdom teeth healthy.
When is it necessary to have my wisdom teeth removed?
Dentists have different opinions on this matter.
Some dentists recommend removing them if they don’t fully emerge.
Others believe it’s better to remove them at a young age, before the roots and bones are fully formed. Recovery after surgery is generally faster the younger the age.
What does the American Dental Association recommend?
The American Dental Association says that wisdom teeth should be removed if you feel any changes in the area such as:
- Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth.
- Cysts or Tumors
- Gum disease or Extensive tooth decay
- Damage to nearby teeth
The decision to have your wisdom teeth removed isn’t always clear. Especially when you are not feeling any problems with them. However, it is important to talk to your dentist about it.
About Dr. Steven Paul, MD, DDS
Dr. Steven Paul’s office aims to keep you comfortable and safe.
Call our office today about your, or your child’s, wisdom teeth. We will assess whether it is necessary to remove them or not. We will answer all of your questions about it so you can determine what is best for you, or your child.
Dr. Paul is a member of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.
He has devoted his profession to all aspects of Oral Surgery with special interests in the treatment and restoration of missing teeth through dental implant procedures including advanced techniques in full mouth rehabilitation (All on 4), bone and soft tissue grafting, restoring both function and aesthetics, as well as extraction of wisdom teeth and associated cysts and tumors of the oral cavity. All this done through anesthetic techniques specific for each individual patient.
NOTE: This article is intended to promote understanding of, and general knowledge about wisdom teeth removal. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dental care specialist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.