Are Wisdom Teeth Important to Keep?
This question has probably surfaced at least once or twice during your consultation or recent dental cleaning at the dental office. You probably thought to yourself…”Hmm, do I really need my wisdom teeth taken out? They don’t bother me at all.” The simple answer is wisdom teeth can be important for some people to keep but harmful to others.
If your dental provider refers you for wisdom teeth removal (aka extracted surgically) then be sure to ask them why. Normally the response from dentists is the same – these teeth will otherwise start to hurt and cause infections as you get older. A wisdom tooth is in our opinion, not very wise to keep. Cases where wisdom teeth erupt from the gums properly AND have enough room in the mouth, are the only real exceptions and also very rare.
So what does this mean for you?
Simply put, removing your wisdom teeth at a younger age is ideal. Not only from a health standpoint but also from a surgical standpoint. Third molars initially start to erupt around age 15 to 16 years old. These teeth are much smaller than an adult fully formed wisdom tooth and less likely to be severely impacted. This makes them easier to remove during surgery and therefore makes the recovery process much simpler.
What if I’m older with impacted wisdom teeth?
Many oral surgeons and dentists opt for a Panoramic x-ray taken to evaluate the necessity of your third molars. Some patients have enough room in their mouth to keep all of their teeth. A majority, however, have a smaller mouth. This makes it difficult to keep wisdom teeth & will most likely require surgery. If the teeth are impacted (which means they are surrounded by jaw bone and don’t have enough room to emerge naturally) it is important to get them removed.
Why are impacted wisdom teeth bad for you?
Impacted wisdom teeth (aka your third molars at the back of your mouth) can lead to many dental issues including pain, damage to surrounding teeth, swelling of the gums, jaw opening issues, and even bad breath. Due to their unfortunate position, they are typically very hard to keep clean. Bacteria can enter between the gumline and the impacted tooth which can sometimes lead to very serious infections.
If in doubt, get it out. If you start to experience any of the issues listed above be sure to contact your dental provider today.