Wisdom teeth have something of a reputation. Everyone immediately thinks of getting your wisdom teeth pulled (or wisdom teeth removal). Wisdom teeth are known for being potential troublemakers, so dentists everywhere keep a wary eye on them. Wisdom teeth typically emerge when a person is between 17 and 25 years old, but they seem to thrive on unpredictability. Some 35 percent of people never have any wisdom teeth develop. For those who do get their wisdom teeth, four is the standard number, but it’s not especially uncommon for an individual to have only two or three or even eight!
Like wearing braces, undergoing wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common experience. That doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for everyone. How do you know whether to pull or not to pull?
When to Pull
For some folks, wisdom teeth simply aren’t a good fit. Quite frankly, there are several ways wisdom teeth can go wrong. Talk to your dentist about wisdom teeth removal if you are experiencing:
- Pain in your molars
- Problems with your bite or tooth alignment
- Cavities or inflamed gums
- Frequent infections or sinus issues
Sometimes wisdom teeth simply don’t come in properly. A tooth that comes in at an awkward angle can put pressure on nerves and surrounding teeth, causing wisdom tooth pain and alignment issues. Impacted wisdom teeth can also be a problem. If wisdom teeth are impacted, there’s not room for additional teeth, and the molars cannot erupt, so they remain trapped in the gum, causing pain, inflammation and damage to nearby teeth. Occasionally, wisdom teeth only erupt partially. This can make it difficult to clean the wisdom teeth and the surrounding teeth, raising the risk of gum infections and cavities. In other cases, wisdom teeth can be a source of sinus trouble or interfere with existing dental work. Cysts can also form around the teeth, and if they aren’t treated, they’ll damage the jaw bone.
When Not to Pull
Contrary to Murphy’s law, just because something can go wrong, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. What if you aren’t experiencing any problems with your wisdom teeth? There may be no need to undergo wisdom teeth removal if you have:
- Eruptions that are complete and problem-free
- No pain or discomfort in your gums, teeth or jaw
- No signs of cavities or infection
- No difficulties with taking care of your teeth
Honestly, the best way to know whether it’s wise to leave your wisdom teeth alone or have them removed is to discuss the matter with your dentist. Using x-rays and a visual exam, your dentist should be able to tell you whether your wisdom teeth definitely need to go, are unlikely to be a problem or fall somewhere in the middle.
At Wekiva Dental, we love to see you smile, and smile pain free! Offering general and cosmetic dentistry services for over 30 years, we thrive on providing personalized, high-quality dental care. If you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain, are wondering if you are a candidate for wisdom teeth removal, contact us at 407-869-7333 to schedule a consultation today.