Do you need to pull your wisdom teeth? It’s a question that many people ask, but there is no single answer. The need for teeth extraction depends on each situation and the advice of their dentist or oral surgeon. In this article, we explore what experts recommend regarding wisdom teeth removal and provide an overview of the possible risks and benefits associated with the procedure.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Before exploring whether teeth extraction is necessary, it’s important to understand wisdom teeth. Also referred to as third molars, wisdom teeth typically come into view between the ages of 17-21. They are located in the very back corners of your mouth and are the last teeth to develop.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Though some people don’t develop wisdom teeth, those who do are thought to have them as an evolutionary remnant from our ancestors. Thousands of years ago, it was common for people to eat much tougher foods than we typically consume today. As such, the extra teeth were needed for chewing and breaking down certain foods that would otherwise be difficult to digest.
Are All Wisdom Teeth Healthy?
Unfortunately, not all wisdom teeth emerge healthy and functional. When they fail to come in properly, they can become impacted, which means they get stuck in the jawbone or gum tissue without erupting. This can cause teeth crowding, misalignment, and other complications, which is why teeth extraction may be recommended.
What Are the Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
If you think your wisdom teeth might be impacted, specific symptoms include pain in the gums, jaw stiffness or soreness, headache, jaw swelling, bad breath, and difficulty opening your mouth. Consulting with a dentist or oral surgeon is important to help determine whether teeth extraction is necessary.
When Is Wisdom Teeth Extraction Necessary?
Wisdom teeth removal isn’t always necessary, but it is often recommended in certain situations. For instance, teeth extraction might be recommended if the teeth are impacted, or there is a risk of infection due to overcrowding.
What Are the Risks Associated With Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Although teeth extraction is considered one of the most common oral surgeries and typically presents a minimal risk, there are potential side effects associated with wisdom teeth removal. Common risks include:
- Swelling, bruising, dry socket (when a blood clot fails to form over the empty tooth socket after surgery).
- Numb gums.
- Damage to nearby teeth.
- Nerve damage in rare cases.
What Are The Benefits Of Removing Wisdom Teeth?
Aside from alleviating pain and discomfort, tooth extraction can also help prevent tooth misalignment and overcrowding. This can help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come. Additionally, teeth extraction can also reduce your risk of infection and tooth decay, as impacted teeth can be challenging to clean properly.
What Are The Alternatives To Wisdom Teeth Removal?
If teeth extraction isn’t necessary or desired, other options are available. For instance, orthodontic treatments such as braces and retainers can help realign teeth that have been affected by wisdom teeth growing in. Alternatively, there are medications your dentist may recommend to help relieve pain and discomfort associated with impacted teeth.
Whether or not you need wisdom teeth removal depends on your circumstances and should be discussed with a dental professional. Ultimately, teeth extraction can help you maintain good oral hygiene and reduce the risk of teeth misalignment or overcrowding in the future.
Q: Is teeth extraction painful?
A: Teeth extraction is typically done under local anesthetic, so pain should be minimal during the procedure. Afterward, there may be some discomfort that can be managed with over-the-counter medications.
Q: What is a dry socket?
A: Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the empty tooth socket after teeth extraction. It can cause throbbing pain, bad breath, and an unpleasant mouth taste. If this occurs, contact your dental professional for further treatment.
Q: What are teeth crowding?
A: Teeth crowding occurs when teeth overlap or become too closely spaced due to overcrowding in the jawbone. Wisdom teeth removal can help alleviate teeth crowding by reducing the number of teeth in the mouth and allowing more space for other teeth to fit properly.