wisdom-teethRemoving wisdom teeth has been a rite of passage for many teenagers and young adults. However, not everyone needs to have them removed and each person works off a different time table. So how do you know if your wisdom teeth need to come out? There are several signs that we look for before we recommend taking out your wisdom teeth.

  • Growing in wrong- at an angle, sideways, or just stuck under another tooth
  • Not enough room- if your mouth is too small, it could impact your other teeth and cause bite problems and pain
  • Gum irritation- red, swollen gums that are painful from tooth growth without the teeth breaking through
  • Bone Damage- noticeable cysts in the jaw or gum tissue or causing pressure up into your sinuses are common concerns

The best way to track growth of the wisdom teeth, and decide when and if they should come out, is with x-rays. We will take them often during the teenage years to monitor the entire health of your mouth. It is better to have them removed before they are fully developed and you are still young before they do too much damage. Bones also get harder as you get older and recovery takes longer, making it more difficult to remove the teeth for all parties involved.

Does Everyone Need Them Removed Eventually?

No, not everyone needs to go through wisdom teeth removal because not everyone grows wisdom teeth. There are many people who only grow one or two teeth too, making the procedure much easier. In fact, one study showed that approximately 10 million teeth are removed form 5 million people each year. That is an average of only two teeth per patient. Another thing worth noting is that less than 40% of these removals were considered necessary.

For those who have a big enough mouth to hold wisdom teeth, it isn’t a big deal to let them come through if that is what the patient prefers. Some dentists will still recommend removal to prevent future problems, but it’s going to depend on the patient. It’s important that anyone who keeps them takes extra care to clean them though. Being so much farther back makes wisdom teeth a little bit harder to clean and floss. It isn’t a requirement to get them removed though.

Working as a Team

In our office, we keep track of wisdom teeth growth for everyone. If you are noticing problems with your mouth though, always tell us. Physical examination and x-rays are great tools for us to use to make sure things are okay, but that doesn’t always tell us if you are feeling pain or not. These things work together to create great dental care.

If the wisdom teeth need to be removed, we can start the discussion on when to remove them. We will help provide you with all necessary information, such as procedures, recovery, and everything to expect. Pain management is reviewed as well as any risks associated with the removal. We aim to make all our patients heard and informed, so please ask questions each time you come in for a visit.