It is so common to hear that someone had their wisdom teeth removed that we have begun to assume that wisdom teeth are just meant to come out. But are they? Does everyone need to have their wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common oral surgeries among teens and young adults - but it may not always be necessary.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow in the far back corners of your mouth. These are your strongest teeth to grind through food. Anthropologists believe that these teeth were likely used by our ancestors to chew tough foods, seeds, nuts, and so forth. But today, not everyone has the space to hold these molars.
Do Wisdom Teeth Have to be Removed?
No, wisdom teeth do not always have to be removed - only if they are or will create problems with your oral health. In fact, these molars can stay in if they are:
- Fully erupted and healthy
- Positioned in a manner that will not interfere with your bite or the function of your other teeth
- Thoroughly cleaned and cared for as part of your daily oral hygiene routine
- They don’t overcrowd the surrounding teeth
Many people have their wisdom teeth without needing to remove them. Others aren’t so lucky.
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
Finally, there is the group of people that have encountered issues with their wisdom teeth and need them removed for one reason or another. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons wisdom teeth need to come out.
- Not enough space for them to fully erupt. Without this space, the wisdom teeth will crowd the surrounding teeth which can lead to further oral health issues down the road.
- They are impacted, staying inside the jaw. Not addressing impacted wisdom teeth can lead to even further problems.
- Only emerging halfway through the gums. When they don’t erupt all the way and remain in this position, it welcomes bacteria and other debris to build up and cause infection or gum disease.
- Inability to reach and properly maintain these teeth.
How to Tell If You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Out
So, how do you know if you are someone who should have your wisdom teeth removed? The best way to find out is to make an appointment with a dental professional. Having a thorough exam can help to determine whether your wisdom teeth should come out - or if they should be ok to remain. Of course, there are a few signs you can look out for, too.
- Pain or discomfort
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Infection in the soft tissue behind the last molar
- Gum disease nearby
- Tooth decay nearby
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
At Hoboken Oral Surgeons, LLC, we offer a wisdom tooth evaluation and wisdom teeth removal to reduce the chance of any problematic situation. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 212-696-2677 (Manhattan) or 201-659-6999 (Hoboken).