Many patients ask, “Should I get my wisdom teeth extracted?” Wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, are often extracted for a number of reasons. For most people, their dental arches are not large enough to accommodate a third set of molars, so instead of erupting properly, the wisdom teeth become impacted or stuck underneath the jaw bone or gum tissue. This can lead to recurrent gum infections, cyst formation, and destruction of the bone and adjacent teeth. Even if there is enough space and the wisdom teeth erupt properly, their position in the back of the mouth makes them difficult to clean, leading to plaque accumulation and decay. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, wisdom teeth removal is often a prerequisite to help prevent relapse after completion of orthodontics.
Wisdom teeth are ideally removed at a young age, when bone is softer and less dense, and teeth are less firmly anchored in the bone. This makes extraction easier and less traumatic. As we age, our jaw bone becomes denser, and we naturally accumulate more general health issues, making wisdom tooth removal a source of greater concern to our overall health.
Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? Discuss the benefits with your dentist. Even if they are not currently causing problems, he or she can determine if they are in a position to cause difficulties in the future. In such cases, extraction may be the best option.