In the modern era, we have recognized that removing wisdom teeth prophylactically, before they cause problems, is the safest and most predictable way to manage wisdom teeth. The majority of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed before the age of 30. In other cases, wisdom tooth extraction is performed reactively to treat complications that have already developed.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed? It all comes down to protecting overall oral health and limiting potential complications.
If your dentist has recommended that you have a wisdom tooth extraction procedure, or if you’re simply curious about the need for removal, this guide will answer all of your questions.
The Top 5 Reasons Your Dentist Will Recommend Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Typically, you’ll learn about the need for wisdom tooth extraction in one of two ways…
Through a recommendation and referral from your family dentist.
After consulting with an oral surgeon in San Mateo.
While most dentists have the skill to perform wisdom tooth extraction, the procedure can be complicated, especially when a tooth is unerupted or partially erupted. An oral surgeon has additional training that makes wisdom tooth extraction safer and recovery easier for you or your family member.
The reasons for extraction can vary, but they all center on issues in and around the wisdom teeth, or potential issues that could develop as wisdom teeth continue to grow.
1: Wisdom Teeth are Difficult to Clean
Because of their position in the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are notoriously difficult to clean. Even if wisdom teeth erupt without complication, they have a higher risk of decay and infection once they do erupt into the mouth.
But why do wisdom teeth need to be removed if you can simply clean them? The reality is that it’s not only hard to reach them, but sometimes they are only partially erupted below a gum flap.
Regular checkups and in-office dental cleaning aren’t enough to prevent problems with wisdom teeth. Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend a wisdom tooth extraction if it’s expected that your teeth are likely to decay in the future.
2: You Don’t Need Them
The modern diet has left wisdom teeth unnecessary for most people. The human jaw has become smaller over thousands of years, further lending evidence to the fact that wisdom teeth are an obsolete remnant from a previous stage of human development.
You can live comfortably without your wisdom teeth, with no adverse effects.
3: The Risks Increase with Age
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed early? Because, as with many areas of health, the risk for complications will increase with age. Even if you’re in perfect health today, wisdom teeth could cause significant problems in the future.
The problems become more difficult to address with age, and they can become costlier to treat. Extraction is simpler and easier to recover from when performed in the late teens or early 20s.
4: Wisdom Teeth Could Cause Dental Crowding
Have you ever heard of the term “dental crowding”? It’s something that many patients deal with, especially when they have orthodontic issues. Crowding can occur when teeth don’t develop properly, or when they are irregularly spaced or positioned. It simply means that teeth aren’t spaced correctly, with some becoming bunched together.
While evidence is unclear, Dental crowding could occur when wisdom teeth push against the other molars. The risk of this happening increases as wisdom teeth grow. So, again, it’s usually best to have these teeth removed earlier in life.
Complications caused by dental crowding can range from an irregular bite to damaged teeth and tooth decay. If you want to maintain a beautifully healthy smile throughout your lifetime, removing wisdom teeth to prevent dental crowding is a major part of the puzzle.
5: Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Major Complications
Even if we ignore every other point on this list, we can draw attention to one specific factor when answering the question; why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Because it prevents complications…
The complications caused by wisdom teeth aren’t minor. Some can be severe, leading to extensive rehabilitation and surgery. Below are some of the most common complications caused by the third molars.
The aforementioned decay and dental crowding.
Increased risk of infection in surrounding teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Increased risk of gum disease.
Cysts can form in soft tissue, leading to tumors and jawbone loss.
Jaw fracture due to a weakened area in the jaw with an impacted wisdom tooth
If you want to protect your oral health, you can book a consultation and oral examination at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed by an Oral Surgeon?
If a family dentist can perform tooth extraction, why do wisdom teeth need to be removed by a specialist oral surgeon? Quite simply, an oral surgeon has the additional training and experience to perform a more successful extraction without complications in or after the surgery.
Don’t let your wisdom teeth stop you from smiling. Book a consultation at Peninsula Oral and Facial Surgery and enjoy a detailed consultation with treatment planning from the best surgical team in San Mateo.