Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the permanent set of teeth and they are 4 in number (2 in the upper jaw and the 2 in the lower). The usually erupt around 17-24 years of age and is associated with pain and swelling of the tissue surrounding it. Over the course of evolution, the human jaws have reduced in size when compared to that of our ancestors. The wisdom teeth often don’t have enough space to erupt and being so crammed they are more likely to get impacted in the jaw bone itself. If they manage to erupt completely, they may still be out of alignment either facing the cheek or the tongue.1
Dental surgeons often advise that you undergo wisdom tooth removal especially because it doesn’t play a major role in chewing food and many a time causes more harm when present. Here are 5 conditions that make wisdom tooth removal a must.
5 Reasons To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Many manage to spend their entire lives without having any issues with their third molars but that’s not the case for a few others. Studies have even found that removal of wisdom teeth that aren’t problematic can lead to some serious consequences like nerve injury.2But if you are experiencing any of the below issues with your wisdom teeth, it’s best to get them extracted.3
1. Crowding Of Teeth Begins
When your lower or upper front teeth are getting crowded due to the eruption of the wisdom teeth, it’s best to get them removed. The forces exerted by the wisdom teeth during the eruption can strain the remaining teeth in a jaw and even push them out of a normal arch making them look unsightly.
2. Decay In the Second Molars
The wisdom teeth are located so far away in the jaws that most often we tend to ignore it while brushing. As the second and third molars are in contact with each other, there are high chances of food entrapment at the surface where they meet. When food debris remains without getting brushed or flossed away, it serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria then create cavities in the sides of the third and second molar; most often the latter is affected. Doctors often advise the removal of the third molar and filling or endodontic treatment to preserve the second molar as it’s an important tooth in mastication.
3. There Are Chances Of Cyst Formation
Cysts are fluid-filled spaces inside the bone or soft tissues. Sometimes, an unerupted or partially erupted third molar could trigger cyst formation in the jaw bone. The cyst could end up eating up the bone cells thereby hollowing your jaw and in worst cases, it can even undergo cancerous changes.
4. Sinus Problems
When the upper third molars get impacted, they are more likely to push into the maxillary sinuses leading to pain around the eyes and nose. If you have a history of recurrent sinus congestion and pain despite treatment, then it’s best to get a radiological analysis of the upper molars in relation to the maxillary sinus. It could be an impacted or infected third molar that’s exerting pressure on the sinus.
5. Sore And Swollen Gums
Gums surrounding the wisdom teeth especially in the lower jaw often become red, painful and swollen. This happens when there is food debris getting stuck in between the teeth and the gums. Sometimes, the gum tissues tend to grow over the lower wisdom tooth and while chewing, it gets in between the upper and lower teeth. This makes them prone to getting bitten and sore. Swishing your mouth with lukewarm salt water is a good way to find relief for this condition. If the gums around the molar become excruciatingly painful to the point where are unable to open your mouth, visit a dentist immediately.
If you don’t have any of the above issues but still have third molars either completely or partially erupted, it’s best to visit a dentist twice a year. Your dentist will perform a thorough clinical analysis to determine whether it’s safe to retain it or remove it.
|↑1||Dodson, Thomas B., and Srinivas M. Susarla. “Impacted wisdom teeth.” BMJ clinical evidence 2014 (2014).|
|↑2||Friedman, Jay W. “The prophylactic extraction of third molars: a public health hazard.” American journal of public health 97, no. 9 (2007): 1554-1559.|
|↑3||Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Simon & Schuster, 2005|