Everyone has stories about getting their wisdom teeth extracted: the funny tales of coming out of the anesthesia, what they did with their removed teeth, and much more. But is getting your wisdom teeth removed the right decision for you? And if so, when should you get the procedure done?
The Wisdom Teeth Basics
Your wisdom teeth are the third molars in very back of your mouth. They start coming in sometime between the ages of 17 and 25, on average, so it is most likely that if you get them removed, it will be during these years. This is also why they’re called “wisdom” teeth. During this age, you’re developing in many ways and gaining new knowledge, and these teeth are supposedly to help you develop this new wisdom that comes with age.
When Do I Need to Take Them Out?
You will need to have extraction surgery if you or the dentist notice any of these problems, or suspects that your wisdom teeth will start causing problems, such as:
- Crowding of the mouth (not enough room for the wisdom teeth)
- The teeth are coming in horizontally or at a strange angle
- They are impacted. This means the wisdom teeth can only partially emerge through the gum, which makes a small hole that is hard to see and clean, and therefore can act as a passageway for bacteria and infection.
- Growing near to the lower jaw nerve
- Infections or gum disease
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Cysts and tumors
- Sinus issues
- Increased tooth decay
As you can see, this is a very long list of possibilities. This is why most people end up having their wisdom teeth removed at some point in time. Basically, you should your wisdom teeth removed when you start feeling pain and/or your dentist recommends it for other less visible and tangible reasons.
When to Not Get Them Removed
While many dentists prefer to take out wisdom teeth before they’re fully developed (the tooth is softer and the roots are not fully formed, making the procedure easier and recovery time faster), this can also cause problems. If there is room for wisdom teeth and they come in normally, removing them may cause spacing problems with your teeth. Because of this, it’s often best to wait a few months between your dentist’s initial recommendation to fully make a decision.