Do All Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

It’s no secret that dentists and other oral health care experts are passionate about keeping your teeth healthy and in place throughout your life. So why do they often seem so eager to take out those third molars (wisdom teeth) way at the back of your mouth?

The team of Harvard-trained surgeons and dentists at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada can answer that.

Our entire staff is dedicated to providing patients the most effective and trustworthy dental and oral surgical care at our offices in Summerlin and East Side Las Vegas, Nevada.

Find out what our surgical experts say about wisdom teeth and when/why they may need to come out.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Also known as your third molars, they’re located at the very back of the mouth and, ideally, line up directly behind your second molars. These days, it’s considered “normal” to have four, one on each side of the top and bottom jaw, only one or two, or no wisdom teeth at all.

Researchers believe that wisdom teeth became useless to humans as diets evolved from our early habits of eating harder-to-chew nuts, wild plants, raw meats, etc. to a softer menu of domestically grown, tenderized, chopped, and cooked proteins, vegetables, and fruits.

This has led to a shortening of the modern human jaw, which essentially leaves little room for these leftover caveman-era molars. It’s this lack of space that often makes it necessary to extract wisdom teeth.

When should I have my wisdom teeth extracted?

If your wisdom teeth have room enough to grow (erupt) through the gums without affecting the health and wellbeing of nearby teeth and gums, you may never need to have this final set of permanent molars removed.

Frequently, however, wisdom teeth become impacted, meaning they don’t have enough room to grow up through the gums. This can cause them to become trapped within the jaw, dislodge the second molar, tip backward, or line up perpendicular to the jaw as they grow.

The impacted tooth, even those trapped entirely under the gumline, is susceptible to the same disease/decay that threatens your other teeth. They are much harder to keep clean because of their location. Impacted wisdom teeth can also create significant problems for your gum health and lead to periodontal disease.  For these reasons, we typically recommend the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.

When should I have wisdom teeth removed?

Of course, we recommend you come in for an exam and possible wisdom tooth extraction any time you’re experiencing pain or other problems. Otherwise, it’s beneficial to remove these teeth before they create problems with your oral health.

Can I keep some of my wisdom teeth? 

Depending on your circumstance and the future growth pattern noted on imaging studies, we may recommend extracting one or all of your wisdom teeth.

For expert oral health care that you can trust, schedule a visit at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates of Nevada today.

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