Wisdom teeth are your third molars which don’t erupt through the gumline until late in
adolescence. In fact, some people don’t see their wisdom teeth emerge until they are in their
These third molars are well known for causing problems in the mouth. Over time, humans have
had less of a need for wisdom teeth and so our jaws have compensated for this. Unfortunately,
many people still have wisdom teeth even though they’re not needed.
Does everyone need to get their wisdom teeth out eventually? The answer may surprise you!
When Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted
Wisdom teeth will need to come out when they are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth happen
when there’s no room for the teeth to properly erupt into your mouth. These wisdom teeth
end up pushing on the neighboring teeth, therefore forcing all of the teeth out of position if
they’re left to grow.
Another problem with impacted wisdom teeth is that sometimes due to their skewed position
in the mouth, they can’t erupt through the gumline all the way. They effectively get stuck.
These teeth become almost impossible to brush and can cause pain and infections. When
wisdom teeth are impacted, they’ll most likely need to be removed.
No Problems, No Extraction
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. If your jaw is large enough to
accommodate all of your wisdom teeth and they begin erupting with no problems, there’s
really no reason to remove your wisdom teeth. If you’re not having any symptoms and an x-ray
shows the teeth are in healthy positions, your dentist likely won’t recommend an extraction.
Although the majority of people do end up having their wisdom teeth removed, there is a small
percentage of people who can keep their wisdom teeth without any problems. A professional
and experienced dentist can help you know what your options are when your wisdom teeth
begin to come in.
How to Tell if an Extraction Is Necessary
There are a couple ways to tell if wisdom tooth extraction is necessary. The first is getting
dental x-rays around the time that your wisdom teeth will be coming in. Your dentist can look
at the x-rays and tell whether or not your wisdom teeth are impacted. X-rays can show your
wisdom teeth even when they’re not visible in your mouth.
If you’re having any symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, it’s time to see your dentist for an
evaluation. Signs and symptoms of wisdom teeth that may need to be removed include jaw
pain or swelling, bleeding or swollen gums around the site, headaches, or a bad taste in your
mouth. All of these could be indicative of an infection or a problem with your wisdom teeth.
Although not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth out, you should never ignore
wisdom tooth pain. If you haven’t seen the dentist in a while and your wisdom teeth are
coming in, it’s time to get x-rays. Getting your wisdom teeth extracted before they cause
problems with your other teeth is best. If your wisdom teeth are healthy, your dentist can
advise you how to best take care of them for life!