Wisdom teeth removal has become almost a rite of passage for many teens and adults looking to correct bite problems or prevent them in the future. But in recent years, some experts have questioned the need to remove wisdom teeth, leaving a lot of people wondering if they need to have theirs extracted or not.
As a leading dentist in Waterford, Michigan, Marvin Taylor, DDS, helps patients at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center understand the pros and cons of wisdom teeth removal so they can decide what’s right for them. Here’s what he wants you to know about wisdom teeth and why extraction is often the better option.
The problem with wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth get their name because they emerge from your gums at the brink of adulthood — a period when schooling is usually over and, consequently, you’re “wise.” Unfortunately, by the time these teeth erupt, your other teeth have already taken their places, leaving little room for these third molars.
As a result, wisdom teeth often get “stuck” under neighboring teeth, a condition called impaction. When wisdom teeth try to break through the gums, they push on your neighboring molars, causing a lot of pain and, sometimes, weakening or loosening those teeth.
If wisdom teeth do manage to break through the gums, they may only emerge partially, they might break through the side of the gum tissue, or they might come in crooked, all issues that can cause painful bite problems and chronic jaw and facial pain later on.
Why extraction makes sense
When wisdom teeth are impacted or if they cause pain, bite problems, or other issues, the benefits of extraction are obvious. Having those teeth pulled is a necessary part of relieving those problems and avoiding issues in the future.
But what if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing pain? What if you have plenty of room for those teeth to emerge without impaction? Does extraction still make sense? Usually, the answer is still yes. Here’s why.
Your wisdom teeth are located very far back in your jaw, near the “hinge” joint that helps your mouth open and close. That’s a tight location with little room to maneuver. And that means it’s extremely difficult to keep wisdom teeth — and the gums that surround them — clean and free of bacteria.
Even though you may not have symptoms now, there’s a very good chance your wisdom teeth will cause problems later on. Having them extracted can help you avoid a lot of pain — and more complex, costly treatments in the future.
Get wise about your wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth can be pulled at pretty much any age. The reason why extraction is often recommended during the teen or early adult years is simple: The roots are smaller, and extraction is often easier as a result. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them extracted when you’re older — your recovery just might take a little longer.
If you still have your wisdom teeth, a dental exam is the best way to decide if extraction makes sense. To schedule your wisdom teeth evaluation, call 248-681-8100 or book an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center today.