Buxton Family Dental

Do I really need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, but for many people it is a very good thing for their long term health.  Your third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, usually erupt in the later teen years.  It's thought that they were named wisdom teeth because they erupt much later than the other teeth at a time when we are supposedly much more mature and wiser.  Some people are lucky enough to have their wisdom teeth erupt normally and serve them well.  Here are other situations we commonly see that usually warrant removal of these teeth: 
  1. Your wisdom teeth are fully impacted.  An x-ray would show them laying at various angles in your jaw bone. Its unlikely they will ever show themselves in your mouth, but the lower wisdom teeth can sit near the nerve that runs through your jaw and the upper wisdom teeth may be near your sinus so any time you have jaw discomfort you may wonder if your wisdom teeth are the cause. 
  2. Your wisdom teeth are partially erupted (meaning they partly show through the gums).  Sometimes these are the most problematic wisdom teeth. These can be very difficult to keep clean and the gums that lay over the teeth may periodically become inflamed and painful when bacteria flourish underneath.  You also may be warned that the space around the partially exposed teeth can attract debris and bacteria that lead to cavities on the neighboring teeth and these can be very difficult to fix. 
  3. Your wisdom teeth are fully erupted, but are very far back in your mouth.  They can be so difficult to reach that you're prone to cavities or gum disease even though you may be very good at taking care of your other teeth. 
We often prefer to remove wisdom teeth when you are a teenager for various reasons.  Two major reasons is that the teeth are easier to get out when you're younger and your ability to heal is much greater in your youth.  Many people choose to wait which can put them at greater risk for complications so it's important they make that decision after understanding their particular situation.  If you decide to remove your wisdom and your case is more complicated than is average we'll often send you to an oral surgery specialist and we have multiple wonderful oral surgeons in the area. 
If you have any questions about the state of your wisdom teeth please pay us a visit at Buxton Family Dental!
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