Should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

Should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

This question gets asked a lot.

First of all, know that not all wisdom teeth have “wisdom.” Even though they may not be bothering you now, there are some reasons to have those teeth removed before an actual problem comes up.

Here is what you ought to consider with your dentist before you decide on what to do about your wisdom teeth:

1. Are they causing any problems for you currently? Problems here refers to a cavity or soft tissue irritation that can cause incomplete mouth opening, It might not currently be an issue for you, but it can develop into a serious problem later on in life.

2. Can you clean that area well? The incomplete eruption of the teeth into the mouth can create pockets of tissue that collect bacteria around your wisdom teeth. Their position at the back of your mouth can make them hard to clean too. It is imperative that you can thoroughly clean your wisdom teeth (and the rest of your teeth) because infections involving the wisdom teeth are a leading cause of multi-space infections, which can spread to the head and neck. Those infections can cause quite a headache especially when you do not have time to deal with them.

3. Are they fully erupted? Due to their location and the time of the eruption, usually between age 17–25, often there is not enough room. When that happens, wisdom teeth may erupt into places where they are interfering with the normal jaw function. This interference can cause pain in the TMJ (the joint of your jaws) later on. Also, you might not be able to open your mouth completely.

4. Any opposing tooth contacting your wisdom teeth when you bite? Not everyone has all 4 of their wisdom teeth. There are many cases where wisdom teeth grow in the mouth without a tooth in the opposite arch to come in contact with during biting. This may not seem like a problem; however, without that feedback a tooth can super-erupt (growing higher than the teeth alongside) and cause occlusal interferences. They might also rub against the soft tissue and cause irritation.

5. Is it impacted? Such situation can create soft tissue pockets, depending on the degree and direction of impaction. Not only that, the wisdom teeth can push the roots of your other healthy teeth causing resorption (the root disintegrates). Impaction of the teeth is a sign that the teeth are not in proper position in the jaw and thus are not functioning that well. In this case, you might as well remove them and have the peace of mind that caries won't develop at that region.

Anyone can notice a problem when active symptoms are happening. However, if there are signs of an impending problem, why wait? Another good reason to decide earlier rather than later is that the bone around your teeth will mature. The mature, solid bone might make those wisdom teeth harder to remove once you get older.