Wisdom teeth are, for the most part, harmless. Left alone, they can develop undeterred. Sometimes, they don’t emerge. If that’s the case, why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
The answer isn’t so simple. The decision to take out your wisdom teeth can fall on several factors. Wisdom teeth likely emerged as a step in our evolution. While we were out eating hard foods like nuts, meats, and the like, wisdom teeth helped us tear through them without too much effort. Further down the line, however, these extra molars were no longer needed. Humans discovered fire and learned to prepare their food. This step made the need to tear through roughage and raw meat inconsequential.
Today, wisdom teeth serve a vestigial purpose. If you do choose to extract them, you can do so with little to no consequences. And if they’re properly aligned, you can also choose to keep them as is. But at times, you will need to take out your wisdom teeth. Particularly if you feel the following:
If your wisdom teeth aren’t growing the way they should
Under the gums, your wisdom teeth can find themselves in an array of positions. They can grow upright, for one, where they don’t interfere with the development of other teeth. When they do develop like this, taking out your wisdom teeth becomes a matter of choice.
However, there are times when the teeth may grow in other directions. They can grow crookedly either towards or opposite the front of the mouth. They can grow horizontally, lying 90 degrees on its side. And they can fail to emerge out of the gums altogether, becoming impacted teeth.
When wisdom teeth grow this way, they’re likely to get in contact with the teeth adjacent to them. When they do, they’re prone to move around the other teeth, which can cause pain and alignment problems. And if you have an impacted tooth, you could be at risk of pericoronitis, a painful wisdom tooth infection where the tissues around the tooth become inflamed.
In these cases, wisdom tooth extraction is necessary and must be done as soon as possible. But what are the perks of extracting wisdom teeth regardless?
Prior extraction can prevent problems down the line
As we age, our bones become sturdier. This sturdiness makes any tooth extractions harder to make. It’s for this reason that most dentists encourage wisdom tooth extractions even before any problems exist. While this extraction mostly applies to impacted teeth, they can also go for healthy molars as well.
Wisdom teeth extraction is not without risk. However, the level of risk associated with it typically goes down the earlier you get it. If you decide to get the operation at a later age, you might find yourself with two problems:
- The problem itself. At this point, you will be feeling the full effects of the impacted tooth. Whether its tooth pain from the misaligned teeth or pericoronitis showing its ugly head, the disease might already be in its advanced stages.
- Post-operation complications. This risk mainly affects older patients. If the tooth is too hard to remove, the extraction might result in conditions such as nerve damage. These issues may last for a lifetime.
That said, it’s always best to check out the most viable plan with your dentist. If your mouth is large enough to accommodate all the teeth, then perhaps you might not need an extraction. Otherwise, it’s best to pull it out than be sorry.