It’s been a long-standing question of whether or not we should get our wisdom teeth removed. Some people do; some people don’t. It just depends on how they come in and how they affect your mouth. Wisdom teeth problems are very common, however, so there are some things to know if you’re considering getting them taken out.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

What’s interesting about the human body now is that we own body parts we no longer need. Those are called “vestigial body parts.” Some time in our evolution, we developed the need for certain things but eventually, they lose their purpose.

Take for example wisdom teeth: in our ancestral past when the human diet consisted of much more rough foods that required powerful bites that would eventually wear down our teeth, we needed an extra set to come in later between the ages of 18 and 25. It was the creation of dentistry that made “wisdom teeth” ultimately vestigial.

Why should we remove them?

Wisdom teeth are not always a problem. Sometimes, they grow in perfectly straight and don’t impact your other teeth at all. More commonly, however, they grow in abnormally—usually growing in from the side. This can compact your other teeth and cause a lot of pain and often infection. The damage done by wisdom teeth is a much bigger hassle than taking them out from the beginning, so ultimately, it’s better safe than sorry.

Pericoronitis is the ultimate outcome. It’s a very dangerous infection that can spread quickly through your face and neck, causing intense pain. It can make opening and closing your mouth very difficult as well as causing severe swelling in the lymph nodes inside your neck.

If the infection is relatively new, you can treat it adequately by gargling salt water and rinsing your mouth. Also, make sure there is no food trapped in the areas of the gums where the wisdom teeth are erupting or have erupted. That is one of the biggest causes of infection.

The biggest concern for not having your wisdom teeth removed is the damage it causes your jaw. It’s true that in rare cases, wisdom teeth can grow in with no problems whatsoever, but again—that’s rare. More times than not, wisdom teeth erupt sideways, pushing your teeth forward and misaligning your jaw. In extreme cases, cysts can form, permanently damaging and disfiguring your jaw.

When should I get wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth start growing in around age 18. It just depends on the person, however, as wisdom teeth have been known to grow in around 16 and as late as 26. Start thinking about getting them removed as soon as they start growing in.

You’ll usually see them poke through a little bit. If this causes any sort of pain, you should get them removed right away. You would want to get them removed before any sort of flaps in your gums appear. These can trap food, leading to infection.

It may differ for most people, but generally, you should remove them as they are growing in—not after they’ve grown in.

We Can Remove Those Troublesome Wisdom Teeth

Balle and Associates is the number one dental office in Las Vegas. Dr. Balle and Dr. Guild use the latest in x-ray technology to detect any problems with incoming wisdom teeth. Schedule an appointment today.