Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Wisdom teeth are typically extracted (removed) when there’s evidence or risk of:

  • Infection
  • Cysts or tumors
  • Impacted teeth
  • Damage to healthy teeth adjacent to the wisdom teeth

Visiting your dentist twice a year for regular checkups will help your dentist follow the progress of your teeth. If they see something that concerns them about your wisdom teeth, they’ll examine your teeth further, take X-rays, and together you can discuss treatment.

Removing wisdom teeth helps reduce the risk of future problems, leaving your mouth healthier in the long run.

Why Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your third molars to fully erupt, a number of problems can happen. Impacted wisdom teeth should be removed before their root structure is fully developed. In some patients it is as early as 12 or 13, and in others it may not be until the early twenties. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. Some of the possible problems related to not removing your wisdom teeth include:

Infection

The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

Cyst Formation

Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jaw bone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jaw bone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.

Possible Crowding

Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth. Primarily the lower front teeth is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.

Damage to Adjacent Teeth

If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay.

Wisdom Teeth FAQs

Impacted Wisdom Tooth Third molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They are usually the last teeth to develop and are located in the back of your mouth, behind your second molars. Their development is usually completed between the middle teenage years and early twenties, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of wisdom.

No, not all wisdom teeth should be removed. Healthy wisdom teeth that fit in the mouth are usually not extracted. Wisdom teeth that have not erupted and are in a good position can also be left in the mouth. However, wisdom teeth should be removed if they cause repeated symptoms or show signs of disease on examination, or if removal is required by some other dental or general condition. 

The best age to remove wisdom teeth is usually between 12-18 years of age.  The timing will depend on root development.  During this age range, the root is shorter and less developed, making the recovery time faster and more predictable.

As wisdom teeth develop, the roots become longer and the jaw bone denser. Removing impacted wisdom teeth in your thirties, forties or beyond, the post-operative course can be prolonged and have a higher complication rate. Treating these complications is often more difficult and less predictable than with a younger patient. Healing may be slower and the chance of infection can be increased. If your impacted wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years or early in your twenties and they are completely impacted in bone, it may be advisable to wait until a localized problem (such as cyst formation or localized gum disease and bone loss) develops. In general, you will heal faster, more predictably and have fewer complications if treated in your teens or early twenties.

tooth acheWe recommend having your wisdom teeth removed before symptoms are present.  After examining your x-ray our doctor will determine if wisdom teeth extractions are necessary.

However possible symptoms of impacted or erupting wisdom teeth  that have been neglected include:

  • Ear Ache
  • Pain & Swelling Around the Wisdom Tooth
  • Ulcers & Pain on the Cheek
  • Pus from Swollen Gums
  • Swollen Glands
  • Pain & Difficulty Opening Mouth
  • Bad Breath & Taste

More Questions

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