Serious aches, swollen faces, and painful surgical procedures—these are side effects most people associate with the continued growth of wisdom teeth. It’s also why many people choose to get them removed early on, before they cause even more trouble. The question, though, is should you really let them go or just leave them there?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last set of teeth to erupt. They usually develop during the late teens or early twenties, which is why they’re called “wisdom” teeth. Most people have two sets of wisdom teeth: two on the top arch and another two on the bottom. While you may have four wisdom teeth, you may not be able to see them all, as most of them are impacted.
Understanding “Impacted” Wisdom Tooth
Your wisdom teeth can be a valuable asset to your mouth—but only if they are properly aligned. If they are impacted or have grown in the wrong direction, they can cause tremendous pain and serious dental problems.
As they are the last set of molars to erupt, wisdom teeth don’t usually have enough space to grow normally in the mouth. Wisdom teeth that don’t reach a normal position by the age of 20, partially erupting through the gums, are considered impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause several dental problems, ranging from cavities, cysts and tumours, to fracture of the lower jaw. As they are partially erupted, they have small openings that increase the risk of bacteria entering the tooth, which may lead to infection. Impacted wisdom teeth are more prone to dental abscess, tooth decay, and gum disease, as their hard-to-reach location makes brushing and flossing difficult.
Should You Let Them Go?
With all of the dental problems wisdom teeth may bring, you may think it’s best to let them go. Historically, though, dentists had a view that it’s better to take them out than be sorry at the end, but not until new studies revealed that some wisdom teeth are fine to keep, especially those that are healthy and have grown normally.
There’s no reason to remove wisdom teeth if they’ve grown properly. If they’re erupting in the wrong direction, however, have them extracted immediately before they cause dental problems.
Visit us if you feel your wisdom teeth are starting to grow. Our team of dentists will determine whether your wisdom teeth can stay or if it’s best to let them go.
^Insured patients should contact their health insurer to discuss their health fund rebates for proposed dental treatment.
*Please note that due to legal obligations all new patients must have an initial examination with their first scale and clean.