When Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Ask a dentist when wisdom teeth should be removed, and the answer you get may be, well, it depends.

Wisdom teeth are simply no longer necessary—people don’t need to tear through foods like they did eons ago (not even if they’re on the Paleo diet). Some people aren’t even born with wisdom teeth at all, and those lucky ones don’t need to deal with the pain and discomfort of having brand new teeth break through the gums at inopportune times.

Most people have forgotten the pain of the teething years from when they were children. Plus, it’s no longer appropriate to suck on ice packs in public as adults, but that’s exactly what you might feel like doing when that last pesky wisdom tooth is coming in during college.

Wisdom teeth might come in crooked, pushing aside existing teeth and causing a mess in your mouth, or they might seem to be growing in and then get gun shy while causing no end to the discomfort.

When To Take Immediate Action

There are certain instances when wisdom teeth simply must be removed. This happens when they’re growing in at extremely bad angles. It’s also a requirement if there’s simply no room left in your mouth and the wisdom teeth will knock a person’s entire smile out of alignment. In these instances, removal of wisdom teeth isn’t up for debate.

There are also times when wisdom teeth have fully erupted, they fit in the mouth, but it’s just too difficult for a person to take care of these teeth. They need to be properly brushed and flossed just like every other tooth. If your dentist is keeping an eye on them and the teeth are attracting too much bacteria, gum disease or tooth decay, then it’s best to have them removed. However, if the patient is diligent about upping the wisdom tooth care, a reassessment at the next checkup may be in order.

On the Other Hand…

Sometimes a dentist will recommend having wisdom teeth removed just because it’s easier. There’s no denying that caring for wisdom teeth is more challenging for the average person than taking care of their front teeth. Wisdom teeth are notorious for having nearby gingivitis and they’re havens for bacteria.

It’s crucial for patients to understand their unique risks for keeping wisdom teeth. A qualified dentist will only recommend removal if it’s the best option for you. Recovery from surgery is relatively brief, but it’s still a decision not to take lightly.

Making the Call

A patient should decide the best course of action with their dentist when it comes to wisdom tooth removal. What are the pros and cons? How long will your personal recovery take? What will happen if you opt to keep the wisdom teeth?

Unless you’re facing one of the pressing circumstances, such as a crowded mouth or crooked wisdom teeth, this decision will likely require some discussion. Luckily, you can count on the expert, Dr. David Verschueren at Northwest Oral & Facial Surgery to help you make the best decision for you and your oral hygiene.