Wisdom teeth removal can occur at a broad range of ages, and is an important decision for every patient. Read through these tips to know when and why you should remove your wisdom teeth, as well as why you may not have to remove them at all.
Reasons to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth
- Preventative Measures: Many dentists and oral surgeons recommend removing wisdom teeth in order to prevent unforeseen issues later down the road. As you get older, the teeth and other bones in your mouth become harder and more developed. That is why it’s not necessarily best to wait until you have pain or other problems to remove the wisdom teeth. The roots underneath your teeth are less likely to be damaged if wisdom teeth are removed earlier.
- Teeth and Bite Alignment: Wisdom teeth can become impacted, meaning they can’t break through your jaw and gums. When this occurs, they may start growing at an angle below the gum lines. The most common problem from this is that as they grow at an angle they push against other teeth. Those teeth can become misaligned to create room for the wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, years of orthodontic work can become undone, and bites could need to be corrected again if the wisdom teeth are not removed timely.
- Cavities and Tooth Decay: If wisdom teeth are impacted and only partially erupt through the gums, they can collect food and debris, leading to gum swelling and infection. When this occurs, the wisdom teeth and nearby molars are more prone to tooth decay.
- Jaw Problems: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts to develop around them, resulting in possible nerve damage. This is caused by the sac next to the wisdom tooth filling up with fluid and damaging surrounding bone and roots.
When to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth often appear between the ages of 16 and 25. It’s best to remove wisdom teeth at the start of their appearance, due to the roots not being completely formed. Additionally the bone will be softer, and there will be less risk of nearby nerve damage occurring.
What Happens if You Don’t Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Some wisdom teeth emerge straight and with room to grow, and don’t cause any issues. Other times, only one or two wisdom teeth need to be removed as opposed to all four. The key decision factor is following your dentist and oral surgeon’s recommendations. Maintain regular checkups and cleanings in order to stay on top of the development and status of your wisdom teeth.