One of the more commonly asked questions we
get asked is whether you need to get your
wisdom teeth removed.
In this resource article we’ll talk about what wisdom teeth are & why we have them, and – more to the point of why you’re here reading this – how & why it may be necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Human Jaws Are Getting Smaller
With real estate in the jaw becoming scarcer, and the need for third molars having diminished, wisdom teeth are
expendable. Does that mean we have to remove wisdom teeth?
When Removal May Not Be Called For
Some adults who have wisdom teeth (the large majority have between one to four wisdom teeth) may never need to have them removed. This is the case when the wisdom teeth are:
- Fully erupted
- Biting properly & positioned correctly
- Able to be cleaned
Your dental care team (dentist and dental hygienist, et al) will be able to monitor the progress of your wisdom teeth and make the determination that the above conditions are met.
They’ll look at your teeth and gums during dental cleanings and check-ups, and they’ll also be able to see wisdom teeth present on your dental x-rays. If all looks good, they’ll advise you to carry on and keep flossing.
When It’s Time for Wisdom Teeth Removal
Emerging Wisdom Teeth Can Pose a Threat to the Rest of Your Mouth
Often times, the wisdom teeth will grow in at awkward angles. The result can be an uncomfortable situation, such as:
The wisdom tooth stays hidden within the gums and become impacted in the jaw, affecting other teeth, roots and gums.
Partial emergence of the wisdom tooth or teeth, causing a gap that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.
Emerging wisdom teeth can also crowd other teeth, pushing them out of alignment and/or causing damage to your teeth.
It is for these reasons that your dental care team will monitor emerging wisdom teeth with due diligence. If they notice any of the above occurring, they will likely recommend wisdom tooth removal.
If you’ve been referred to us by your dentist, that’s probably the chain of events that took place.
Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Pain, Discomfort, Infection and/or
Other Oral Health Issues
If you have fully grown wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth that are emerging or in your gums, that pain could be the result of a wisdom tooth starting to wreak havoc in your mouth. A visit to your dentist will help determine whether this is indeed the case.
If you’ve already been advised by your dentist that x-rays and/or exams have shown signs of wisdom teeth coming in with impact potential, it’s probably time to have that wisdom tooth or teeth removed.