By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the many funny online video clips of people being sedated after getting their wisdom teeth taken out. Although these videos are fun to watch, as a dentist I can tell you that these teeth are anything but wise.
I recommend to the vast majority of my patients that they should remove them. But have you ever wondered why wisdom teeth need to be removed in the first place? Here’s everything you need to know:
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth usually emerge at the age of 17. Not all wisdom teeth get to break through the gum tissue; some partially erupt with a flap of gum covering the rest of it. Wisdom teeth may also be impacted. This happens when there is no space for them to surface so they tend to grow sideways and get wedged between the jawbone and a neighboring tooth.
Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?
Most people choose to undergo wisdom tooth extraction when they start to hurt. But at Afdent we often recommend to have them removed even if they’re not aching. For instance, people with partially erupted wisdom teeth may not feel any pain, but food particles and bacteria can get stuck in the flap of gum covering the tooth. This could lead to an infection called pericoronitis.
Impacted wisdom teeth that don’t induce pain right away can be tricky to diagnose since you or your dentists can’t see them unless you get an x-ray. And by the time they start to hurt, there may already be damage to the neighboring tooth. That’s why it’s important to receive regular dental x-rays at your hygiene appointments.
They Can Cause Serious Complications
Apart from causing irritation and inflammation, a cyst can form around a wisdom tooth which can cause damage to the bone, nerves, and even the tooth next to it. Extreme cases can even turn into a tumor that may require major surgery.
At What Age Should You Have Them Removed?
The best age would be during your late teens such as 17 to 19 because that’s the time the roots of your teeth are not fully developed yet and the bone where it sits is still less dense. If you have your wisdom teeth extracted at a younger age, the lesser the chance for complications to arise and it will help you recover faster.
But of course, you can still get your wisdom teeth removed even when you’re no longer a teenager, especially when they emerge during your 20s.
Turn to Afdent Patient Friendly Dentistry
At Afdent Patient Friendly Dentistry, we see thousands of patients every year for all types of dental procedures such as wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants, and more. If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.