It might seem like a rite of passage to have your wisdom teeth removed, but experts — including the American Public Health Association — have cautioned against prophylactic wisdom teeth removal. With this in mind, how do you know if you need to get your wisdom teeth removed?
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, but for those that do, extractions can eliminate or prevent many problems. Our team of experienced providers at SPA Dental Group evaluates your oral health, thoroughly reviews x-rays, your symptoms, and the size of your jaw when considering wisdom tooth surgery.
Only a thorough consultation with Shebani Pahwa, DDS, Maham Siddiqui, DDS, or Samantha Ben-Ezra, DMD can answer the question if you need surgery.
In the meantime, however, this article can highlight some of the factors that may contribute to whether or not you need to have your teeth extracted.
Reasons to consider wisdom teeth extraction
When it comes to wisdom teeth extraction, the decision to remove them or not comes down to two main factors:
- Are your wisdom teeth already causing problems?
- Are they likely to cause problems in the future?
If the answer to the above questions is “yes”, then you’ll likely benefit from removing your teeth. There are many ways for your provider to determine the likelihood of your wisdom teeth causing problems.
Symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth include:
- Pain that radiates to your jaw or other teeth
- Red, swollen gums
- Difficulty opening your jaw
- A bad taste in your mouth
Even if your wisdom teeth don’t hurt now, it’s possible that your wisdom teeth may cause problems in the future. If your teeth are impacted (and don’t erupt through the gums), they can damage other teeth or prevent your other teeth from developing properly. If they do erupt, they can still cause problems (like crowding), if your jaw is too small to accommodate them. Your dental x-rays can be used when predicting future issues. X-rays show how much space your teeth have, which direction they are headed, and if they are compromising any other teeth.
Reasons you might not need your wisdom teeth removed
Like any surgery, wisdom tooth removal is never suggested unless the pros outweigh the cons of surgery. If your wisdom teeth have erupted, have plenty of space, and aren’t negatively affecting your other teeth, you may not need them removed.
Benefits of removing your wisdom teeth
If your wisdom teeth are causing pain or discomfort, removing them eliminates the pain associated with problematic wisdom teeth. While this is a very important benefit of surgery, it’s not the only one.
Partially impacted wisdom teeth are more at risk for tooth decay, according to the experts at Mayo Clinic. Removing partially impacted teeth eliminates the hassle and complications of dealing with decay and fillings in your third molars. Impacted wisdom teeth also increase your risk of developing a cyst in your jaw as well as gum disease. Again, removing impacted wisdom teeth removes the risk of these complications.
When do you need to remove your wisdom teeth?
If you're already experiencing pain and tenderness, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Whether you have current symptoms or you’re worried about future issues, we can guide you with your next steps. To schedule a consultation, call the location of your choice or visit our website to request an appointment.