Do Wisdom Teeth Really Need to Come Out?

Wisdom TeethWe treat patients that need to have their wisdom teeth removed, and one of the common questions they ask is whether or not they actually need to be taken out.  That really depends on each person. These are the last teeth to come in and can do so when someone is a pre-teen all the way into adulthood.  The teeth in and of themselves aren’t bad.  How they come in determines what needs to be done with them.Most people simply don’t have enough room in their mouth for these third molars. This creates a problem because they can push teeth forward.  By doing so, a person’s bite can be off, and pain can develop.  Additionally, for teens and adults that have had braces, the idea of teeth being forced out of position is not appealing.When examining wisdom teeth one of the common things that we see is that they grow in sideways which is also referred to as being impacted.  Instead of growing straight up and through the gums, they tend to grow underneath the gums towards other teeth.  This can feel strange, be painful, and make it easy for food and bacteria to become trapped in the small gap between the top of the wisdom tooth and other molars.  This is a good example of why they need to be removed.Wisdom teeth that grow in naturally, in a mouth that has room for them, can stay in place without causing any harm.  In this scenario, there isn’t any reason to have them removed because they will function normally and be easy to clean. Granted, it may be difficult to floss all the way back there but overall there shouldn’t be any issues. Unfortunately, this happens very rarely.For everyone else – they typically need to be professionally extracted.  If they have broken through the surface and are primarily straight, they can be pulled out just like any other tooth.  Oral surgery is required when they are impacted or buried underneath a layer of gum tissue.  In this scenario, the gums need to be cut open, and a flap created.  We can then grab the tooth and wiggle it to see if it will come right out.  If not, we may need to break the tooth into pieces and remove it one piece at a time.  We can’t say for sure what the situation will look like until we have cut open the gums.This process would be uncomfortable if it weren’t for sedation dentistry.  Modern dental care makes it easier to have these types of procedures performed because pain and anxiety medication is available.  If a tooth is simply being extracted, you may only need to treat any dental anxiety and numb the area that is being worked on.  If, however, oral surgery is required we will typically put our patients to sleep so that we can extract the tooth without any pain or discomfort.If you still have your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to see if they need to be removed.

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