Wisdom Teeth ExtractionIs it necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed, and when is the best time to do so? Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, located at the very back of your mouth. They usually come in after all your other teeth have erupted, and they can be very troublesome.

Dentists usually check to see if wisdom teeth need to be removed when a patient is between 16 and 19 years of age. Your dentist can use X-rays to assess how your wisdom teeth are erupting and predict if they will need to be extracted. In some cases, you may be able to keep them – they should be fully erupted from the gums, healthy, and positioned so that they don’t damage other teeth. Because of their location in your mouth, it can be difficult to avoid cavities in these teeth, so you'll want to consider about special cleaning routines to keep them healthy.

Unfortunately, many wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow or erupt properly, causing complications. Some common problems include:

Partial Eruption: Sometimes the wisdom teeth may only emerge partially through the gums. This makes it difficult to clean the area and the tooth, resulting in a pocket or passage that can be a magnet for bacteria, contributing to gum disease and oral infections.

Hidden Teeth: If the teeth remain hidden under the gums, they can become trapped or “impacted” in your jaw, which can result in infection or may cause a cyst that could damage other teeth roots or bone in the jaw.

Crowding: Wisdom teeth that emerge without adequate space to come in properly can crowd or overlap your teeth, causing damage to neighboring teeth.

Poor Position: Wisdom teeth may come in at odd angles, even horizontally, causing damage to other teeth or your jaw.

In many cases, dentists will recommend removal of the wisdom teeth when patients are in their teens or early twenties. The bones and teeth become harder as you get older, making it more difficult for people to recover from surgery. Pulling wisdom teeth when the patient is young, while the roots and bone associated with wisdom teeth is still forming, can prevent problems from removal and prevent issues that may arise from hidden teeth that could become impacted.

If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, you will want to watch out for certain symptoms to avoid major problems in your mouth. If you are experiencing:

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Damage or repositioning of nearby teeth
  • Cysts or tumors
  • Excessive tooth decay
  • Repetitive infection in the gums behind your lower last tooth
  • Progressive gum disease

While removing wisdom teeth in young people is generally safe and easy, the decision to do so is always personal and individual. To make the best decision for you, you should discuss the position and health of your wisdom teeth with your dentist or oral surgeon.

If you have questions or are experiencing any pain associated with your wisdom teeth, give us a call and we’ll help you understand your options and make the decision that is best for you. We’re excited to help you get “wise” about your wisdom teeth!

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