While it isn’t exactly black and white, there are several instances when the timing may be right for getting your wisdom teeth removed. These tricky molars can come in when it is most inconvenient. Sometimes, they cause incredible pain and discomfort, while other times they may go unnoticed for decades. In a lot of people, wisdom teeth never actually come in —they stay under the gums and grow sideways, impacting the teeth next to them without ever being visible. This makes it tricky to know whether or not they need to come out at all.
Discovering An Issue
It is very important to stay current with your routine dental visits. Every six months, you should have your regular cleaning and exam. During this appointment, the dentist will also review any current x-rays. This visit to your dentist is important for many reasons — first, it is an opportunity to remove any plaque and tartar that cause tooth decay; second, it allows the diagnosis and treatment of cavities; and third, it gives your dentist the opportunity to review any dental issues you may have, including impacted wisdom teeth.
If your dentist discovers that your wisdom teeth are indeed growing sideways, bulldozing teeth as they move, they will recommend removal.
You may be someone who doesn’t have to question whether or not their wisdom teeth are causing issues. For some, as wisdom teeth begin to grow in and crowd their mouth, the gums and existing teeth become extremely sensitive. In fact, you may have scheduled a separate dental appointment just to confirm that your wisdom teeth were indeed the problem. If that is the case, the dentist will take a current x-ray and determine when/if removal is needed.
The Time is Right
Whether your wisdom teeth are invisible below the surface, or you’re experiencing pain, it may be the right time for these molars to be removed. Here are some instances that may point to an impending extraction in your future:
- Confirmed x-ray showing wisdom teeth are impacted or crowding your mouth.
- Pain or sensitivity of the wisdom teeth or surrounding teeth/gums.
- Partially grown in wisdom teeth that have stopped growing/moving and cause space issues.
- Frequent or painful infections in the back of the mouth behind the last, lower molar.
- Extensive tooth decay on surrounding teeth.
- Diagnosed gum disease.
While it may seem that the majority of people get their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives, the truth is – many never have theirs removed at all. The decision to have your wisdom teeth extracted will need to be discussed with your dentist.
If you are suffering from sensitivity, notice an increase in pain or infection in the back of your mouth, or are due for new x-rays, please schedule an appointment at Advantage Dental Group. We would be happy to discuss options with you regarding wisdom teeth removal. We work closely with local, oral surgeons and may refer you to them if needed. Who knows, you may even be one of the lucky (or wise) ones that keep theirs forever.