Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to come in. They are also known as the third set of molars. They are referred to as wisdom teeth because they usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 – when a person is old enough to have gained some wisdom.
The question of whether wisdom teeth should stay or be removed has always been shrouded in controversy. The consensus seems to be that if they erupt and create no problems for you, then you can let them stay. However, if they come in improperly and cause unbearable pain or discomfort, then you’ll need to have them removed.
In this article, we explore some of the significant reasons you should have wisdom teeth removed.
1. If they’re impacted
If wisdom teeth are unable to erupt normally and remain completely hidden within the gums, they are said to be impacted. At times, this can lead to infection. It can also cause a cyst that can damage the roots of the adjacent teeth or compromise bone support. You can avert these problems by removing the wisdom teeth.
2. Tooth decay
Food particles, bacteria, and even saliva can accumulate around an impacted wisdom tooth. This problem can make it or the adjacent tooth decay. Removing such decay is not easy, and it can typically result in infection and pain.
3. Gum infection
When a wisdom tooth has erupted partially, bacteria and food particles can accumulate under the gum. This problem can cause gum infection, leading to swelling, pain, bad breath, and difficulty opening your mouth. This infection can even affect the neck and the cheek. Once the first episode strikes, each subsequent infection becomes more severe and more frequent.
4. Prosthetic reasons
If you’ve been scheduled to have dentures, you’ll need to have your wisdom teeth removed. If a wisdom tooth erupts underneath a denture, it can cause unbearable irritation. If you have the irritating tooth, you’ll need to have a new denture installed as the wisdom tooth will have altered the shape of the gum.
5. Pressure pain
Sometimes the erupting wisdom tooth exerts pressure on the adjacent teeth, causing pain. This pressure may also result in the erosion of the adjacent teeth.
6. Cyst formation
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that usually develops from the soft tissues surrounding an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are notorious for causing bone destruction, damage or displacement of adjacent teeth, and even jaw expansion.
It’s essential to remove the cyst and the wisdom tooth to avert further bone loss. If the cyst is left to grow large, it can lead to the development of a tumor or fracturing of the jaw.
When’s the Ideal Time to Have Wisdom Teeth Pulled?
Dental experts recommend that impacted wisdom teeth be pulled out between the ages of 14 and 22 years, whether they’re problematic or not. This procedure is done because at a younger age, surgery is technically more straightforward, and recovery is much quicker. Wisdom teeth removal can be quite complicated in patients over 40. Moreover, the risk of complications after the procedure increases with age.
While some people can live their whole life with wisdom teeth, many people have problems with their wisdom teeth. They cause a lot of trouble and discomfort because they erupt abnormally. Typically, the solution for a problematic wisdom tooth is to have it removed.