Wisdom Teeth: To Remove or Not to Remove
Ah wisdom teeth: those hidden, sometimes painful teeth lurking at the back of your jaw. Many people have their wisdom teeth taken out in their teens, but some adults still have them. Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be a choice or a necessity. You should get the opinion of a dentist at our practice in Greensboro before making a final decision, but first, let’s talk more about wisdom teeth.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Typically, a third set of molars appear during adolescence or the early twenties. Wisdom teeth are vestigial, left over from a time when our ancestors needed to grind down fibrous plants, which in modern times serves little to no purpose for us. They’re called “wisdom teeth” because they start making appearances during a more advanced age.
Why Do People Get Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Many people have a problem with their wisdom teeth because they come in at a bad angle and impact your back molars. This can have immediate painful consequences by crowding your teeth and slowly pushing them all forward, which can be painful around the wisdom teeth or more generally through the rest of your teeth. Your wisdom teeth can also damage your rear molars as they try to erupt from your gums. Partially erupted wisdom teeth may lead to a bacterial infection called pericoronitis. Should your wisdom teeth not erupt properly, you may be at risk for gum tissue damage. In these cases, it’s best to remove your wisdom teeth as soon as possible.
Many people are administered sedation such as local or general anesthesia when their wisdom teeth are extracted, as the procedure can oftentimes be painful otherwise. Afterwards, patients may be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication for hygienic aftercare and pain management. Some patients may experience swelling after wisdom teeth removal as well. In order to minimize complications following an extraction, it’s recommended to work with a professional, experienced dentist to reduce the incidence of postoperative complications.
Why Aren’t All Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Not everyone needs to remove their wisdom teeth. Sometimes wisdom teeth fully erupt naturally and cleanly, giving you some extra teeth to clean with no negative impacts. Again, most teenagers get their wisdom teeth taken out to avoid complications in the future, but many adults still have their wisdom teeth. Say you’re an adult now and you still have those wisdom teeth: should you remove your wisdom teeth anyway? In general, if they aren’t causing any problems, and we’ve verified in a dental X-ray that they don’t pose a potential problem, you’re likely safe. However, we generally recommend having them removed as a precaution.
How Do I Know If Wisdom Teeth Removal Is Right For Me?
Some people begin noticing pain and irritation when their wisdom teeth begin coming in. Gum sensitivity and stiffness or soreness around the jawbone may be indications it’s time to have those pesky teeth pulled. Other signs include difficulty opening your mouth, toothaches, sinus issues, painful oral cysts near the teeth, and even bad breath. However, many patients don’t experience any of these signs or symptoms which is why it’s important to check with a dentist regularly and schedule your wisdom teeth removal if recommended.
You’ll need a professional consultation, and likely an exam including an X-ray to know whether having your wisdom teeth pulled is the right call. People who avoid wisdom teeth extractions may experience complications later in life including crowding, pain, and even bacterial infections. Visit Friendly Dentistry for a comprehensive evaluation and professional opinion to see if wisdom teeth removal is right for you.