Wisdom teeth extraction is the most common type of dental surgery. In fact, about 85% of patients will have to have their wisdom teeth removed in order to prevent dental issues and to preserve the alignment of the rest of their teeth, according to information from the American Society of Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry.
Due to its complexity, wisdom teeth removal requires special skills and experience offered by an oral surgeon. The experts at West Coast Dental are trained to assess the condition of your wisdom teeth and recommend an oral surgeon, if needed. This type of dental specialist is required since general anesthetic must be given prior to wisdom teeth extraction.
If you’re wondering whether you need to remove your wisdom teeth, you’re not alone. Let’s explore the most frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth removal and care.
Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that erupt in the far back of your mouth. They may need to be removed if they are bothering you or to prevent future problems from occurring.
Signs of Wisdom Teeth Problems
The most common signs that your wisdom teeth are causing dental issues include the following:
- Upper or lower jaw pain
- Pressure in the back of your mouth
- Sensitive or swollen gum tissue around your wisdom teeth
- Problems with the teeth located right next to your wisdom teeth
- Very bad breath
Unfortunately, you may not have any symptoms and still have problems with your wisdom teeth. You may also develop problems in the future. That’s why you should consult a dentist about the health of your wisdom teeth.
The Trouble With Impaction
Wisdom teeth are the last to erupt and there often isn’t enough space in the gum to accommodate them. This can lead to impaction — meaning the teeth are buried in the soft tissue or jaw bone. Impacted teeth can cause issues if they trap food in hidden places that can’t be cleaned properly. This can lead to decay, infection, swelling and severe dental pain. If your wisdom teeth are fully impacted, your dentist will likely recommend extraction.
Some patients’ wisdom teeth come straight through the gum without causing any problems. However, at some point, they may need to be removed if teeth or gum problems start to occur.
Do You Have to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The short answer is no. While wisdom teeth extraction is quite common, It isn’t always necessary. There are several factors to consider when evaluating a patient’s wisdom teeth and making recommendations for removal.
Your dentist will use a visual exam, as well as X-rays to fully evaluate your wisdom teeth. He or she will use this information to determine if your wisdom teeth should be removed, or if you should meet with an oral surgeon for additional assistance. To consult with one of our dentists about your wisdom teeth, book an appointment today.
According to literature from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, the main criteria for extraction involve answering the following questions:
- Are your wisdom teeth causing you problems?
- If not, how likely are they to cause you problems in the future?
Beside evaluating your teeth, your dentist will help determine if the benefits of oral surgery outweigh the risks — based on your current health status. If your wisdom teeth have erupted straight and aren’t causing any dental issues, your dentist may recommend that you keep them.
Maintenance and Monitoring
If your dentist advises you to keep your wisdom teeth for the time being, the American Dental Association recommends regular monitoring for potential problems. With age comes increased risk of developing wisdom teeth issues.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your wisdom teeth are vital to prevent cavities and gum disease because they are located so far in the back of the mouth. That means you should brush and floss your wisdom teeth — just like the rest of your teeth. You should also be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams.
At What Age Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?
The American Dental Association informs that wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. However, they begin forming in the jaw bone much earlier. The American Society of Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry reported that developing wisdom teeth may start to be evaluated as early as age 12.
When Is the Best Time to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
It’s important to remember that there’s no set age for wisdom teeth removal. Each patient’s mouth and tooth development is different. “Timing for removal is based on wisdom tooth development and not the age of the patient,” stated the American Society of Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry.
According to information published by the Mayo Clinic, many dentists recommend wisdom teeth extraction when patients are young adults — even before the teeth start causing dental issues. Performing oral surgery on younger patients is usually easier since they tend to recover faster and have teeth and roots that are not fully formed. Most patients who opt for removal surgery do so in their late teens or early 20s.
Mayo Clinic – Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?
Cleveland Clinic – Do Your Wisdom Teeth Really Have to Come Out?
Mouth Healthy – Wisdom Teeth