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When to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

When to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Your wisdom teeth don’t make you any smarter, but they do carry the potential for oral health complications. Some people have absolutely no problem with their wisdom teeth and don’t need to have them removed, but for most — the wisdom teeth can potentially cause bite problems, pain, infection, and sinus issues. 

About 5 million people have their wisdom teeth removed every year. According to the dental team of Thomas O. Marxen, DDS, MSD, and Andrew Keith, DDS, of Advanced Care Dentistry in Woodinville, Washington, here’s why and when you should consider having your wisdom teeth extracted.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Your third molars are a leftover of your ancestry, whose diet consisted mainly of uncooked meat, hard nuts, and crunchy leaves. Now that food is softer, cooked, and cut into bite-sized pieces, these molars are no longer needed. 

What problems do wisdom teeth cause?

Sometimes, wisdom teeth erupt naturally from the gum line, causing no problems. Often, they grow in a way that threatens the integrity of your other teeth. Many people have mouths too small for additional molars, so the wisdom teeth remain trapped in the jawbone or under the gum tissue. Impacted wisdom teeth can mean abscesses, infection, and pain. 

Wisdom teeth can also be difficult to keep clean, making them vulnerable to gum disease and decay. 

What symptoms suggest they need to be removed?

Our dentists may recommend you remove them prophylactically, meaning to prevent any possible problem in the future. They may see their growth route in an X-ray and know that they won’t fit in your mouth, will come in crooked, or will cause problems to your other teeth.

Symptoms that you should have your wisdom teeth removed right away include:

Your wisdom teeth have the potential to crowd nearby teeth and even contribute to sinus problems.

At what age should I have wisdom teeth removed?

Having your wisdom teeth removed early, when you’re in your late teens or early 20s, minimizes any damage they can cause to your smile. Plus, the teeth haven’t fully developed yet, so they’re easier to extract. 

We will likely recommend removal when we can see your wisdom teeth starting to push through the gum line. If they don’t emerge all the way, they leave a pathway through which bacteria can travel and cause serious infection.

Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Not everyone’s wisdom teeth need to be removed. If yours are healthy, fully erupted, and positioned correctly, there’s no need to extract them. Our team will also want to ensure you can reach them with a toothbrush and floss to keep them from being subject to decay.

If you have questions about your wisdom teeth or other oral health issues, contact Advanced Care Dentistry. Call the office or reach out via this website to schedule an appointment.


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