Should I get my wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth removal is almost a rite of passage for teenagers and has been for generations. But not everyone actually needs to have their wisdom teeth out! Should you get your wisdom teeth removed? Only an orthodontist or oral surgeon can tell you for sure, but here’s the lowdown on who needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, who doesn’t, and what happens after you’ve made your decision.
What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, the ones in the very, very back of your mouth. They typically come in when a person is between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come in.
Why do people have their wisdom teeth removed?
Some people keep their wisdom teeth all their lives with no problems. But many other people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed on the recommendation of their orthodontist or oral surgeon. Common reasons to remove wisdom teeth include:
- They’re impacted – Because of their position very far back in the mouth, wisdom teeth often become impacted, meaning that they do not erupt normally and are instead trapped in the jawbone or under the gums. This can be very painful for the patient, and removal is the only permanent option to find relief.
- They erupt at an incorrect angle – When wisdom teeth come in at the wrong angle, they can push the other teeth out of alignment, which can lead to crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.
- There’s not enough room – People with small mouths may not have room to accommodate the extra wisdom teeth, which could lead to pain as well as moving the other teeth out of alignment.
What happens if I don’t have my wisdom teeth removed?
Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed. If you’re one of those lucky people, you shouldn’t have any complications from keeping your wisdom teeth for life.
But if your wisdom teeth are impacted, coming in at the wrong angle, or there isn’t enough room in your mouth to accommodate them, you might experience one of more of the following issues if you don’t have them removed:
- Pericoronitis – A wisdom tooth that has partially erupted can lead to pericoronitis, an inflammation of the tissue around the wisdom teeth that causes severe pain, swelling, bad breath and even lockjaw.
- Cysts – An impacted wisdom tooth can develop a cyst that surrounds the tooth. These cysts can lead to bone and gum damage.
- Misaligned bite – You may have spent years in braces achieving a great smile and a healthy bite. But if your wisdom teeth come in and shove your other teeth out of place, both your teeth and bite can be negatively affected. Crooked teeth aren’t just an aesthetic issue – a improperly aligned bite can cause pain, tooth wear, and jaw issues.
What age should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
This number varies from dentist to dentist, and you’re never technically “too old” to have your wisdom teeth removed. At Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists, we recommend that our patients have their wisdom teeth removed in their teens, before the teeth start causing any additional problems or damage.
Should you get your wisdom teeth removed?
Schedule your appointment with Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists and find out! With locations all over the Atlanta metro area, there’s sure to be an office close to you.