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Do You Have To Remove Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third molars and located in the very back of your upper and lower jaws. Those teeth typically erupt in your late teens to  early twenties. Some people are born without wisdom teeth.  For years, people have been getting their wisdom teeth removed. However, we do get patients who often ask us the reason as to why we recommend taking the wisdom teeth out.  Any procedure involving surgery is a big undertaking and we fully understand concerns from the patients. We always want to ensure that patients understand the reasons of any treatment decisions beforehand.  This post is going to explain some of the most common reasons to remove wisdom teeth. In many situations, we do have  to remove the wisdom teeth, but its not always needed. Over the years, reasons for taking out the wisdom teeth have been changing. It is important to understand when the removal is necessary and it should be avoided.

Here is your guide to making that decision:

You don’t have to get your wisdom teeth removed if those are:

  • Healthy
  • Fully erupted
  • Not a hindrance to maintain plaque control
  • Correctly positioned in the jaw and making an appropriate contact with the opposing tooth

Here are some of the most common reasons for removal of wisdom teeth:

Lack of Space: Sometimes the jaw is too small for the wisdom teeth to erupt/grow properly. Wisdom teeth  sometimes partially break through the gums or remain completely hidden the other times. The wisdom teeth  that don’t grow properly may become impacted. Wisdom teeth may grow at different angles in your jaw. When wisdom teeth are partially emerging through the gums, it creates a passage which is so hard to keep clean and can harbour bacteria and food debris leading to infections.

Lack of hygiene:  In certain cases, there is enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to grow in but because of the fact that wisdom teeth are located so far back in your mouth, it may not be possible to maintain optimal oral hygiene which causes pockets in the gums. Those pockets have the bacteria and plaque build ups which cause infections and dental decay.

 Possible damage to the adjacent molars: Sometimes wisdom teeth grow at an angle causing food impaction between wisdom teeth and second molars located next to wisdom teeth causing decay in the adjacent teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Signs and Symptoms:

  • Repeated infections in the back area of the mouth
  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) around the third molars
  • Tumors
  • Damage to adjacent teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Extensive tooth decay

More FAQs

When is the best time to get wisdom teeth removed?

The best time to have your wisdom teeth removed is between the ages  16 and 22.  Like any other teeth, as the wisdom teeth develop, the crown  (top portion) of the tooth develops first followed by the root formation. In young adults, root formation is not complete which makes it easier to remove the wisdom teeth. It also helps reducing the risks and complications.

What are the risks of removing wisdom teeth?

With any surgery, there is a risk of infection.  If the blood clot is dislodged from one or more sockets, there is additional discomfort which is known as dry docket. It is more common to develop in smokers. The most serious risk is nerve injury. The older you get, your jawbone becomes denser and roots are fully formed. It makes the surgery difficult. The injury to nerve can cause numbness in the lip/chin. Rarely, there is numbness in the tongue. However, the risk of nerve injury is very low when roots are not fully formed.

What age is considered too late for the wisdom teeth removal?

We commonly see patients with symptomatic  impacted wisdom teeth in their 30s, 40s, 50s. There is no age limit to doing this procedure. However, the surgery is more difficult in older patients and the risk of complications is higher.

Should I wait for the symptoms to arise before getting my wisdom teeth removed?

We suggest to get it removed as soon as it is recommending. If you decide to put it off, it  becomes more difficult to remove it, healing is slower and risk of complications is higher. It is not uncommon for us to see patients who were recommended four wisdom teeth removal a few years ago and now they need eight teeth removed because of the damage to the adjacent molars from wisdom teeth.

Serenity Dental