Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that grow in the back of the mouth, often between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth can cause a lot of discomfort, and as such, people often ask if they need to have them removed. In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about wisdom teeth and whether you have to pull them or not.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that grow at the back of your mouth. They usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on each side of the mouth, but some people may have fewer or none at all. Wisdom teeth can either grow properly aligned, or they can become impacted, which means they do not have enough space to fully emerge, leading to pain and discomfort.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. It depends on the individual case. However, there are many reasons why your dentist may recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed, including:
- Impacted wisdom teeth that are causing pain, swelling, or infection
- Crowding of teeth
- Formation of cysts
- Difficulty cleaning and maintaining oral hygiene with the presence of wisdom teeth
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Wisdom teeth do not necessarily have to be removed as soon as they start to emerge, especially if they are not causing any problems. However, it is best to remove them during your late teenage years or early twenties when the roots are not fully developed, making the procedure less complicated and recovery easier. Delayed removal of impacted wisdom teeth can lead to further complications like infection, cyst formation, or even nerve injury.
What happens when you get your wisdom teeth removed?
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a common oral surgery that typically takes about an hour. Depending on the difficulty of the case and the number of wisdom teeth to be extracted, the surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. During the procedure, the dentist will lift the gum tissue over the teeth and remove any bone that is blocking access to the tooth before finally separating the tooth from the bone and removing it. Patients are typically advised to rest and avoid strenuous activity for a few days after the procedure and to follow their dentist’s post-operative instructions to promote healing.
Do you have to get your wisdom teeth removed?
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. If they are healthy, properly positioned, and not causing any problems, then there is usually no need to remove them. However, it is important to monitor their growth regularly and consult a dentist or oral surgeon if you experience any pain or discomfort. Your dentist may recommend extraction in the case of an impacted tooth, a decayed tooth, or crowded teeth.
What are the risks of not removing wisdom teeth?
Leaving impacted wisdom teeth untreated can lead to the formation of cysts, infections, damage to adjacent teeth, and in rare cases, nerve damage. An impacted tooth can also cause swelling and pain, sometimes leading to more severe dental problems.
Can you keep your wisdom teeth if they are not causing any problems?
Yes, you can keep your wisdom teeth, but it is important to monitor them regularly and practice good oral hygiene to prevent them from causing any problems in the future.
Do wisdom teeth affect your bite?
Wisdom teeth usually emerge at the back of the mouth, and as such, they usually do not affect your bite. However, if they are impacted or growing at an angle, they can exert pressure on nearby teeth, causing discomfort, and affecting your bite. In such cases, it may be necessary to remove the wisdom teeth to ease the pressure and align the bite properly.
What can I expect after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
After the procedure, you may experience mild to moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. You may also have some bleeding and difficulty opening your mouth fully for a few days. Your dentist will give you specific guidelines on how to care for the surgical site and promote healing. The recovery process usually takes about a week or two.
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that grow in the back of the mouth. Not everyone needs to have them removed, but if they are causing problems like pain or infections, it is best to have them extracted. It is important to monitor your wisdom teeth regularly and consult with your dentist if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Commonly Asked Questions
- Do I have to remove my wisdom teeth? Not necessarily, it depends on the individual case.
- What is the recovery like after getting your wisdom teeth removed? The recovery process usually takes one to two weeks, depending on how many teeth were extracted and the difficulty of the case.
- When should wisdom teeth be removed? It is best to remove them during your late teenage years or early twenties when the roots are not fully developed, making the procedure less complicated and recovery easier.
- How do you know if your wisdom teeth are impacted? Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection. Your dentist can take an X-ray to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Wisdom teeth removal: What you can expect.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Nov. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/wisdom-teeth-removal/about/pac-20395268.
- “Wisdom Teeth 101.” Delta Dental, https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/wisdom-teeth.html.
- “Wisdom Teeth Removal.” Colgate, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/wisdom-teeth/wisdom-teeth-removal-what-to-expect-0616.