Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the oral cavity. Also called third molars, these teeth are located so far back in the mouth that they can cause problems with cleaning and even tooth crowding. Up to 80% of people end up having at least one of their wisdom teeth removed .
But do you need to have your wisdom teeth removed? Should you? Here are a few important considerations when considering whether or not to get your third molars removed.
If Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted, They Will Need to Be Removed
When wisdom teeth are impacted, they will need to be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth may not cause symptoms immediately, but they have the potential to affect your oral health in the long term .
Impacted wisdom teeth may not fully erupt through the gum tissue, leading to problems with cleaning the teeth and even gum infections. In some people, wisdom teeth may not have enough room to come in through the gums, which can lead to pain, swelling, and even problems with the neighboring teeth.
Your dentist can tell if you have impacted wisdom teeth by taking x-rays. If the teeth are impacted, your dentist will suggest removing them to prevent problems or to resolve existing symptoms you’re experiencing.
Consider Removal If Wisdom Teeth Are Difficult to Clean
Wisdom teeth don’t always have to be impacted to cause problems in the oral cavity. If your wisdom teeth have fully erupted through the gum tissue but are difficult to clean due to their location in the oral cavity, you may opt to have them removed .
Using an electric toothbrush may be able to help you reach your wisdom teeth better than using a manual toothbrush, but if your dentist is consistently seeing plaque buildup around your third molars, removal may be an option to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease around these teeth.
When It’s Ok to Leave Wisdom Teeth Alone
Some wisdom teeth are certainly ok to leave alone. In fact, unless you have impacted wisdom teeth or are having problems with these teeth or with cleaning them, it’s generally ok to leave them in.
If your third molars have come completely through the gum tissue, are healthy, and don’t affect your neighboring teeth or your bite, you don’t have to have your wisdom teeth removed. Your dentist can let you know if your wisdom teeth should be removed by doing an examination and taking x-rays during your appointment.
Not Everyone Will Need Wisdom Tooth Removal
Just because you have wisdom teeth doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have them removed. To find out if your wisdom teeth have the potential to become problematic, schedule an oral exam and x-rays with your local oral healthcare professional!