Do Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?

Apr 01, 2024
Do Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?
Most people extract their wisdom teeth, which are a superfluous set of molars that often don’t fit properly in your mouth. But do you always have to remove your wisdom teeth? What happens if you leave them in place?

Wisdom teeth are a set of molars that don’t erupt until you’re in your late teens to early 20s. In most cases, these molars aren’t needed to properly chew and digest your food. In fact, they seem to be a vestige of the past, when humans ate hard-to-chew foods such leaves, roots, nuts, and tough, stringy meat. 

Modern human’s jaws are smaller than our ancestors were. Not only do we not need our wisdom teeth to grind down our softer, cooked food anymore, they may actually trigger problems that require removal. Wisdom tooth extraction recommendations can vary from dentist to dentist, but an estimated 85% of people end up extracting them. Will you?

Caring and experienced dentist Ben Mohrman, DDS,  evaluates your wisdom teeth eruption. If necessary, he performs extractions in the comfort and safety of our Indianapolis, Indiana, office, with the helpful addition of sedation of your choice.

Are your wisdom teeth crowding other teeth?

By the time you’re between the ages of 17 and 25, you should already have 28 permanent teeth. You probably don’t have enough space to accommodate four more molars.

If your jaws already seem quite happily filled with your current teeth, you probably won’t have room for wisdom teeth. Trying to crowd in molars you don’t need could affect neighboring teeth and have adverse effects on your ability to chew.

Even before your wisdom teeth erupt, Dr. Mohrman may be able to identify potential problems. Your annual X-rays help him evaluate how well your wisdom teeth will erupt and whether they can do so without negatively affecting other teeth.

Are your wisdom teeth crooked?

If your wisdom teeth are erupting off kilter and are crooked or sideways, they could bump into  neighboring teeth. This could shift your teeth or even damage them.

Additionally, having crooked wisdom teeth puts you at higher risk for gum disease and decay. Ill-placed  teeth complicate proper removal of food debris when brushing and flossing. 

The primary factor when considering whether to remove wisdom teeth before starting orthodontic treatment is the concern for shifting your other teeth. After your braces are removed to reveal a perfect smile, you don’t want to wreak havoc on that perfect smile with wisdom teeth that throw your teeth out of alignment. 

Are your wisdom teeth at risk for impaction?

The most common reason for wisdom tooth extraction is impaction, which occurs when the molar gets stuck during the process of erupting from the gums. Of, it may never develop normally at all.

If a wisdom tooth is stuck under or partially under your gums, you may experience  jaw pain, sensitive or bleeding gums, as well as a swollen jaw. Partially impacted wisdom teeth put you at greater risk for infection, too. Even if you don’t feel pain, consult us if you notice wisdom teeth that can’t seem to break through your gums.  

 Are your wisdom teeth struggling to erupt, or do you have tooth pain or jaw pain? Contact us for a wisdom tooth consultation for yourself or your teen. You can reach our team via phone during office hours or with our online form at your convenience