Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom TeethIf you are asking yourself the question, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?" you need to be aware that this has been an ongoing debate in the medical community for a long time, with some people arguing that there are far too many unnecessary extractions and that wisdom teeth should be extracted only if they develop problems. On the other hand, quite a few dentists believe that because wisdom teeth can, and often do, cause many complications, it is easier to remove them as a preemptive measure when the patient is young and before the roots are fully formed. Also, younger people tend to bounce back from the surgery more easily than older patients and have fewer complications.

Before we endeavor to answer your question, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?" we should tackle the question of whether these four molars are necessary.

What Are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Do We Need Them?

Most adults have 32 teeth in their mouth, 12 of which are molars. The four located in the very back of your mouth are the so-called "wisdom" teeth, named so because they erupt a few years later than your other permanent teeth - when you have attained adulthood and supposedly more "wisdom." Although there is no consensus of opinion, many people believe that without the third molar, primitive societies would not have been able to chew coarser foods. If this is true, then in this day and age, our methods of cooking have rendered the wisdom teeth redundant. The fact is extracting these third molars makes little to no difference.

Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

The dental profession as a whole and numerous scientific publications maintain that wisdom tooth extraction is always appropriate in the event the patient has gum disease, an infection, a carious lesion that cannot be restored, if it is causing damage to the adjacent tooth, etc.

One of the most common problems associated with wisdom teeth is that many people's laws are too small to accommodate a third molar. In which case, the tooth is likely to be so wedged in between the neighboring tooth and the jaw bone, it cannot erupt as it should, in which case, it is said to be "impacted." The tooth will then remain under the gum and not erupt at all, erupt only partially, or erupt at an angle with the top of the tooth facing sideways or even forward or backward.

An impacted or semi-erupted tooth is difficult to clean simply because it is difficult to manipulate a toothbrush around it, which can very quickly lead to decay. It can also not only damage the adjacent tooth or even the bone itself but if it has only emerged slightly above the gum, a flap of skin has been known to grow across it. This provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and almost certainly will cause infections and decay.

On the other hand, the third molar need not be extracted if it has completely erupted, is free of any pain or discomfort, has no sign of dental caries, is not adversely affecting any other teeth, and isn't causing any other complications.

Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for an impacted wisdom tooth to become symptomatic later in life, the problem being that the surgery gets more difficult and the risk of complications higher as you get older. For example, when the root is fully formed, there is some danger of the nerve being injured, which can cause numbness in the lower lip.

All of this means that if you have been asking yourself, "Should I have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?" and you have some symptoms of possible complications, you should not put off getting it extracted.


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