Has your dentist recommended that you get your wisdom teeth removed? It can be hard to understand why you need to go through this procedure, especially if these teeth aren’t bothering you. However, wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, and your dentist wouldn’t suggest it unless they believed that it would save you a great deal of money, time, and pain in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth and what can happen if you don’t get them taken out.
What Exactly Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are also called third molars because they are the third and final set of molars (back teeth) that a person develops. Researchers believe that these teeth helped our early human ancestors chew tougher, fibrous foods like raw vegetables. Over time, though, our food has become easier to chew, so we no longer require these teeth. In fact, many people’s jaws do not even have room for their wisdom teeth to erupt without causing problems.
When Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Usually, wisdom teeth come in between the ages of 17 and 25. That’s actually where they get their nickname – by the time they erupt, you’re older and therefore wiser than you were when all of your other teeth came in.
If the wisdom teeth are able to fully erupt in the correct position, then they might not have to be removed. However, the modern human jaw typically isn’t typically large enough to accommodate them. As a result, wisdom teeth might erupt at an odd angle, only emerge partially from the gums, or even become impacted (trapped beneath the gums).
What Happens If I Don’t Get My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out?
When it comes to wisdom tooth removal, it’s often a good idea to take a preventive approach. Delaying a wisdom tooth extraction when you need one can have serious consequences later on, such as:
- Crowded teeth
- Damaged tooth roots
- Pockets in which harmful bacteria can accumulate
- A higher risk of gum disease and other dangerous infections
- Severe and/or constant pain in the mouth
- Crooked teeth and a misaligned bite
- A more complex and difficult wisdom tooth extraction later on
Wisdom Tooth Removal: A Truly Wise Decision
Fortunately, your dentist is trained to monitor any signs of trouble in your wisdom teeth during your routine checkups and cleanings. Thanks to advancements in modern dental technology, wisdom tooth removal is easier and more comfortable than ever before. That’s why if your dentist recommends that you get your wisdom teeth taken out, scheduling the treatment as soon as possible is the smartest thing you can do!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Diercks has been a dentist in Los Gatos, CA since 1998. He is also a clinical instructor for Western Surgical and Sedation, where he teaches other dentists about surgical wisdom tooth removal techniques as well as IV sedation. You can trust that if you need your wisdom teeth extracted, you’ll be in good hands with Dr. Diercks. To learn more, you can contact Los Gatos Dental Group online or by calling (408) 402-0900.