Unfortunately, most of us will be getting wisdom teeth in our teens and early 20’s and about 95% of us will need them removed due to lack of space in our mouth. Usually they need to be removed because they are positioned incorrectly and cause problems within our jaws and push against other teeth. A lot of the time they partially come in with just a portion poking through the gum tissue which can hold onto bacteria and cause an infection.
Can we hold onto our wisdom teeth? Technically, yes, it is possible to keep them if they are positioned right and you can clean them appropriately. Sometimes it’s hard for people to get that far back to clean them and thusly, cavities can occur.
A lot of dentists are now recommending that wisdom teeth be removed at an earlier age prior to the roots being fully formed and potentially causing problems. Younger people have bone that is less dense and tend to heal a little faster.
The American Dental Association recommends removal of wisdom teeth if you experience any of the following:
Extensive tooth decay
Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
Cysts (fluid-filled sacs)
Damage to nearby teeth
The procedure to have your wisdom teeth removed has pretty much been perfected and doesn’t take very long at all. Typically you will be referred to an oral surgeon that specializes in removal of teeth. You can choose to be put under sedation so that you are unaware of what is happening. This is usually better for those of us whose wisdom teeth are misaligned and haven’t come through the gum tissue yet because it’s a little more difficult to remove those.
It’s not always a cut and dry type of conclusion whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed, so it’s best to discuss it with your dentist and have your teeth evaluated and monitored.
Information compiled from WebMD, the Mayo Clinic and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center 2014