Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars to emerge in the back of your mouth. They erupt out of the gums between the ages of 16-24. While some people may have no issues with their wisdom teeth, many others find that these late bloomers can cause a variety of problems. Wisdom teeth extraction is a common dental procedure, and it's essential to understand the reasons why removal might be necessary. In this blog, we'll explore the main reasons to get your wisdom teeth removed.
Lack of Space
One of the most common reasons for wisdom teeth removal is a lack of space in the mouth. As these teeth are the last to come in, there is often insufficient room for them to erupt properly. This can lead to impaction, where the tooth becomes trapped beneath the gum line or grows at an awkward angle. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and even damage to adjacent teeth. At times, making space for them with orthodontics can help but not always.
Wisdom teeth often grow in at odd angles or in the wrong direction due to their late arrival and limited space. This misalignment can affect your bite and the alignment of your other teeth, leading to discomfort and difficulty chewing. Correcting misaligned teeth may require orthodontic treatment, making early removal of wisdom teeth a proactive choice to prevent these issues.
Infection and Inflammation
Partially erupted wisdom teeth can create pockets in the gums around them, which are difficult to clean properly. These pockets can become breeding grounds for bacteria, leading to infections and inflammation of the gums. In severe cases, this condition, known as pericoronitis, can cause significant pain and swelling in the back of the mouth. This swelling can lead to difficulties when opening your mouth.
Cysts and Tumors
Sometimes, wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumors around them. These growths can damage the surrounding bone and teeth and may require more extensive surgery if left untreated. Regular monitoring and early removal of wisdom teeth can help prevent the formation of these cysts and tumors.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Wisdom teeth are often challenging to clean effectively because of their location at the back of the mouth. This can make them more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Removing these teeth can prevent potential dental issues and help you maintain better oral hygiene. Removal of the wisdom teeth makes it easier to clean the area leading to improved oral hygiene.
Pain and Discomfort
Even when wisdom teeth do not cause severe dental problems, they can still lead to discomfort and pain. Many people experience pain, pressure, and headaches when their wisdom teeth start coming in. Limited mouth opening can also occur making chewing difficult. This discomfort can affect your quality of life and make simple tasks like eating and speaking challenging.
Easier Recovery at a Younger Age
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in late adolescence or early adulthood when the roots are not fully formed. At this stage, the teeth are easier to extract, and the recovery process tends to be quicker and less painful. Waiting until later in life to remove wisdom teeth can result in more complex extractions and a more extended recovery period. Later in the life the bone around the wisdom teeth becomes more stiff which can complicate the extraction and elongate the healing time after removal.
While not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, it's crucial to understand the main reasons why extraction may be recommended by your dentist or oral surgeon. Lack of space, misalignment, infection, cysts, tooth decay, gum disease, and pain are all valid concerns that can be addressed through wisdom teeth removal. If you're experiencing any of these issues or if your dentist suggests extraction as a preventive measure, it's essential to follow their advice to maintain your oral health and overall well-being. Consulting with a dental professional is the first step in determining if wisdom teeth removal is necessary for you.