Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Posted on: February 15, 2017

If you find yourself  asking the question, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?" Then you need to know that the answer depends on a few key factors. An ongoing debate in the medical community for a long time, keeping or removing wisdom teeth has some arguing that there are far too many unnecessary extractions. Other people believe that those wisdom teeth should be extracted only if they develop problems.

On the other hand, quite a few dentists believe that because wisdom teeth can, and often do, cause many complications, it is easier to remove them as a preemptive measure when the patient is young and before the roots are fully formed. Also, younger people tend to bounce back from the surgery more easily than older patients and have fewer complications. Before we endeavor to answer your question, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?" Our Seattle dental office should tackle the question of whether these four molars are necessary.

What Are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Do We Need Them?

Most adults have 32 teeth in their mouth, 12 of which are molars. The four located in the very back of the mouth are the so-called "wisdom" teeth. The wisdom teeth are named so because they erupt a few years later than your other permanent teeth when one attains adulthood and supposedly, more wisdom. If this is true, then in this day and age, our methods of cooking render the wisdom teeth redundant. The fact is that extracting these third molars makes little to no difference in certain cases.

Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom tooth extraction is always appropriate if:

  • The patient has gum disease
  • The patient has an infection
  • The patient has a carious lesion that cannot be restored
  • The wisdom tooth is causing damage to the adjacent tooth

A common problem that people may experience with wisdom teeth is that the jaw is too small to accommodate the third molar. In which case, the wisdom tooth is likely to be wedged between the neighboring tooth and the jaw bone, it cannot erupt as it should, in which case, it is said to be impacted. When the jaw is too small to accommodate the wisdom tooth, the tooth remains under the gums and causes more issues. In some cases, the wisdom tooth will become impacted, only partially erupt or erupt sideways into the other teeth.

It is difficult for an individual to manipulate a toothbrush around the wisdom tooth that is impacted or semi-erupted. Depending on the individual’s mouth, a wisdom tooth can damage the adjacent tooth or even the bone itself.  If the tooth only emerges slightly above the gum, a flap of skin can grow over it and provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

A case by case basis

On the other hand, the third molar may not need an extraction if it has completely erupted, is free of any pain or discomfort, has no sign of dental caries, is not adversely affecting any other teeth, and is not causing any other complications.

Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for an impacted wisdom tooth to become symptomatic later in life. The main issue with surgery is that it increases in difficulty and complications as one gets older. For example, when the tooth has a fully-formed root, there is some danger of injuring the nerve during treatment, which can cause numbness in the lower lip.

All of this means that if you have been asking yourself, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?" And you have some symptoms of possible complications, you should not put off getting it extracted. Call our office today at (206) 324-9877


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