By: Karli Willden
If you are in your later teens, or a parent of a son or daughter in their later teens, it might be time to start thinking about wisdom teeth removal and whether it is right for you. Wisdom teeth, otherwise known as your third molars, can impact your mouth in a less than positive way, and most people who have them will choose to have them removed. Below are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to have them removed. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a consultation to have your wisdom teeth removed, please feel free to give our Idaho Falls dentistry a call.
Wisdom Teeth Overview
Did you know that approximately 35 percent of the world’s population are actually born without wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow in, generally making their appearance later on in the teen years between 16-25, if at all! You may not know if you have wisdom teeth or not, unless the dentist has told you so, as wisdom teeth may be difficult to see as they remain under the gum line. If you aren’t sure if you have wisdom teeth or not, ask your local dentist at your next checkup.
To Remove Or Not to Remove
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 85 percent of wisdom teeth will need to be removed at some point. There are three main reasons wisdom teeth may need to be removed, and these include prevention of pericoronitis, tooth decay, and impaction. Pericoronitis is when the tissues around the wisdom tooth become inflamed. Tooth decay occurs when a cavity forms in the wisdom tooth, eating away the tooth and infecting the pulp (innermost part of tooth) or the root of the tooth. Lastly, impaction, or when the tooth doesn’t fully emerge from the gums because another tooth is blocking its path to the surface. Each of these three can cause pain in the mouth, ranging from mild to severe pain.
While 85 percent of wisdom teeth will need to be removed, the dentist or oral surgeon may find upon examination it would be better to leave the wisdom teeth alone. These cases may be fewer and far between, but the dentist may find that removing the wisdom teeth could cause nerve damage or that the wisdom teeth aren’t causing any immediate risks. Wisdom teeth located on the bottom row of your mouth tend to cause more problems, though, than the wisdom teeth located on the top.
Risks of Leaving Them In
If you choose to prolong the removal of your wisdom teeth, here’s a heads up of what you might experience down the road. First, do not be surprised if your teeth become misaligned. All those years of having perfect teeth or braces may soon change, as wisdom teeth can push other teeth out of position. Second, pain is a very real possibility as wisdom teeth are prone to infection, inflammation or impaction. If you are planning on leaving the country for an extended period of time, be sure to have your wisdom teeth checked out and removed if needed. It would be unfortunate to be in a place without proper care and experience mild to extreme pain. Other risks associated may include the development of cysts, inflammation, jaw and sinus problems, and nerve damage.
Wisdom Teeth Examination
If you are in your late teens or early twenties, and you have not yet had your wisdom teeth removed, schedule an oral examination today to determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary for you. In most cases, wisdom teeth removal is generally recommended, since they are unnecessary and can cause a lot of issues down the road.
It is especially recommended if you plan on living outside the country for an extended period of time, or plan on serving in the military, the Peace Corp, or other volunteer groups where it is required. Schedule your appointment today with Idaho Falls Smiles today at (208) 524-1700 to have your wisdom teeth examined.