Why Remove Them?

Nearly 85 percent of people have their wisdom teeth removed during their lifetime. Typically, wisdom teeth extraction is a very routine procedure that can help ensure the long-term health of your mouth and teeth by avoiding complications that occur when your wisdom teeth do not come in properly or become impacted.  Because they are in the very back of the mouth, third molars often do not have enough room to grow in.  Therefore, it is not unusual for wisdom teeth to be positioned crooked or sideways in the jaw, which keeps them from erupting into the mouth properly.  When this occurs, dentists refer to the wisdom teeth as impacted.

Although many people do not experience any symptoms related to their wisdom teeth, dental professionals will recommend having your wisdom teeth extracted to prevent some of the following scenarios:

  • Healthy teeth can be damaged, or shift because of crowding, as impacted wisdom teeth push against your neighboring molars.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth often become decayed or infected because they’re hard to reach with your toothbrush.
  • Bacteria around the impacted tooth can lead to gum disease and enter your bloodstream, adversely affecting your heart and other organs of your body.
  • Fluid-filled cysts or tumors occasionally form around the bottom of an impacted wisdom tooth, causing damage to the jawbone, nerves in the area and nearby teeth.

The Best Time to Remove Them

Wisdom teeth usually come in between the ages of 16 and 25.  Dentists generally start monitoring these teeth early on, by panoramic x-rays, to see how they’re developing.

Whenever your dentist detects problems or feels that your wisdom teeth have the potential to create complications in your mouth, they will most likely suggest that you have one or all of your wisdom teeth removed – even if they are not causing you problems at the moment. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), it is recommended that wisdom teeth be removed before the age of 25. This is because prior to this age, the teeth roots are not usually completely developed and the bone around the teeth isn’t as dense; lowering the risks of complications and generally leads to faster healing time.

What should I expect for the extraction process and recovery time?

Wisdom teeth removal surgery is a routine dental procedure – nearly 85% of adults have had their wisdom teeth removed to protect their oral health.  It is completed as an outpatient procedure at a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office.  During a preoperative appointment, the dentist will discuss what anesthetics or sedatives will be used during the surgery.  Following the procedure, patients will most likely experience some pain and swelling, but in most cases it goes away after three to four days. Pain medications and antibiotics are often prescribed to help with these symptoms.  Every patient is different and the recovery time can differ depending on the number of teeth removed, your speed of healing, as well as the severity of impaction.  If local anesthesia is used then the patient is able to drive themselves home, go to work, and resume normal activities. If IV sedation or general anesthesia is administered, then transportation home must be arranged and a family member or friend should be enlisted to monitor the patient for approximately the following 12 hours.