The wisdom teeth, also referred to as the third molars, are the last ones to develop in teens. Oftentimes, these don’t have enough room to wiggle on or are in a wrong position. If this happens, the wisdom teeth have to be extracted.
A study shows that around 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted every year.
A Rite of Passage
Today, extracting a wisdom tooth is already seen as a rite of passage towards becoming an adult. Most do it right after high school graduation before proceeding to university or college.
This idea was somehow based on the fact that the third molars are most often useless and only cause infections. Originally, oral surgeons thought that it would be better to take them out to be safe than sorry.
When It Is Not Necessary
The wisdom teeth do not need to be removed if they are healthy and have been grown in completely. These third molars can stay in the gums as long as you keep up with your regular dentist visits and have X-rays taken to check for potential problems.
In addition to that, wisdom teeth that are positioned correctly and can be cleaned as part of your oral hygiene do not need to be removed. Both the patient and the dentist should discuss the options available, including the possible removal or the monitoring of the teeth for changes.
A Crucial Extraction
Most of the symptom-free wisdom teeth are not problem-free. Oftentimes, these can be stuck or impacted which may require a surgery. An impacted tooth that is growing at an angle can damage the next tooth.
Most often, the back of the mouth is the hardest area to clean. This makes it a perfect place for bacteria to thrive, which then cause infection and gum disease.
Other than impacted teeth, extraction is necessary if the gum tissue around the area is inflamed, if the teeth have cavities, or if there are cysts around the new teeth.
Your dentist will still check the condition of your mouth and teeth before making a decision. Your age will also affect the possibility of extraction.