Do I Need to Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Do I Need to Remove My Wisdom Teeth? 

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are located all the way in the back behind your 2nd molar teeth

What are wisdom teeth? 

Wisdom tooth, or third molar, is the tooth which is located furthest back in each corner of your mouth. Some people have one wisdom tooth in each corner of their mouth for a total of four. Others are lucky and have no wisdom teeth at all. If you have wisdom teeth, you need to decide whether to keep or remove these teeth. The sooner you decide on what to do with your third molars, the less discomfort you will experience.

When is the best age to remove wisdom teeth? 

It’s best to decide if you can keep or remove your wisdom teeth before they have a chance to cause pain. Typically, wisdom teeth start to force their way out during late teens and early twenties. This means that it is ideal to remove your third molars when you are about 15 to 17 years old. Here are the benefits of removing wisdom teeth at a younger age: 
  • Less episodes of pain
  • Wisdom teeth are not fully formed as of yet, so they come out easier
  • Your bone is softer and it's easier to remove impacted wisdom teeth
  • When you are younger you heal better
  • Your wisdom teeth won’t have to chance to make your teeth more crooked

How do I determine if my wisdom teeth need to come out? 

Consult with a dentist or oral surgeon. Accessing wisdom teeth requires a special type of X-ray, known as a panoramic. Panoramic X-ray can conclusively determine the exact number and location of wisdom teeth in your mouth, even if they are nowhere close to coming out. Based on the findings on the Panoramic X-ray and the spacing in your mouth, your dentist can determine if you have enough room in your mouth to keep your wisdom teeth or if you need to have them removed before they become problematic. 

When is it okay to keep my wisdom teeth? 

You can keep your wisdom teeth only if your jaw is large enough to fully accommodate your third molars in their final position. This means that there must be enough room in your jaw for the wisdom teeth to come out in an upright position without damaging adjacent teeth. Plus, the teeth need to come out in a place where you have access to clean them properly so they don’t develop cavities overtime. Unfortunately, only a smart percentage of people have jaws large enough to comfortably accommodate their wisdom teeth and the vast majority need to have these teeth removed. 

Is it wise to ignore wisdom tooth pain? 

Absolutely not! Problematic wisdom teeth continue to cause repeated episodes of pain. This will go on for several years and the pain typically returns within a few months as the wisdom teeth try to continue to push their way out. In order to avoid suffering from repeated episodes of toothache, you should remove problematic third molars as soon as possible. Additionally, ignoring these teeth can cause your other teeth to become crooked. This can also lead to infection on teeth neighboring the wisdom teeth and you may end up losing your second molar tooth as a result of an impacted wisdom tooth. If you live in Southern California and like a complimentary wisdom teeth consultation, give us a call and we will be happy to let you know if you can keep or need to remove your wisdom teeth.

Brush 'n Floss Yo Teeth!
Ali John Jazayeri, DDS

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