Between your late teen years and early 20s, a third set of molars should erupt through your gum tissue, but often there are complications. The wisdom teeth can help grind and chew food; however, evolution has caused the human jaw to narrow, which means there may not be enough room for them to erupt. Although your dentist generally does whatever they can to preserve your natural smile, here are 3 reasons they may recommend wisdom tooth removal.
Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Over 5 million wisdom teeth are extracted each year, but there have been debates about the necessity of those procedures. Most oral surgeons agree on one thing, extractions are necessary when involving 3 specific factors:
Pericoronitis is the most common reason patients schedule a wisdom tooth consultation. The localized gum infection occurs when there’s not enough room for the tooth to fully erupt. Over time, the gum tissue can become irritated and infected. Many patients experience pain, swelling, and even difficulty opening or closing their mouths, such as when chewing.
An impacted wisdom tooth can cause a cyst, which is a fluid-filled bubble inside of the jawbone. Although you may not see the issue from the surface, a cyst can destroy the jawbone and surrounding teeth if it’s not treated. It’s best to have the issue addressed early because there is a slight risk of rare tumors caused by delaying teeth extractions.
3. Damage to Adjacent Teeth
If your jaw is too small to accommodate your wisdom teeth, it can cause overcrowding. It can be difficult to thoroughly clean the teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Sometimes, bone loss can also occur. It’s not unusual for the wisdom tooth or adjacent teeth to break or chip.
Don’t Wait to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth
It’s never too late to have your wisdom teeth removed; however, dental professionals recommend having a consultation between the ages of 16 to 24. Even if the teeth haven’t erupted, your oral surgeon can see potential issues before they occur. Removing the teeth is a preventive approach to avoid future complications.
The recovery process is generally easier for younger patients, too. Typically, it’s better to have them taken out while you’re young instead of waiting until your 20s to 30s. No matter your age, it’s never too late to improve your smile and quality of life. Your oral surgeon will use the latest treatments and techniques to ensure a comfortable, stress-free process.
Don’t wait for irreversible damage to occur. Schedule your wisdom tooth consultation today.
About Dr. Geoff Haradon
Dr. Haradon earned his dental degree from the University of North Carolina before continuing his training in a 3-year program to focus on periodontics. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the Colorado Springs Dental Society, the American Board of Periodontics, and the American Dental Association. If you’re ready to have your wisdom teeth removed, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.