For years, dentists have routinely extracted the wisdom teeth of patients who are in their late teens and early 20s. Sometimes, the reason is obvious — the teeth are painful or erupting at a strange angle. But if you're in this age range and your dentist has been recommending wisdom teeth removal even though your teeth feel fine, you might be wondering why. Is it still wise to have your wisdom teeth removed even though they are not bothering you? Yes, it is! Here's why.
Wisdom teeth have a tendency to push other teeth out of place.
Most people's jaws are not large enough to accommodate their wisdom teeth. So instead of erupting straight in the mouth, the teeth get impacted behind the other molars and start putting pressure on those molars. Over time, this results in your teeth being pushed forward and together. This can create misalignments, make it hard to chew and bite, and lead to jaw pain. It's a lot easier to have the wisdom teeth removed before this happens than to try and correct a misalignment later on.
You can't usually see or feel the wisdom teeth beginning to displace your other teeth in the early stages of this process, so you can't rely on pain and visuals to determine whether your wisdom teeth should be removed.
Wisdom teeth and the tissue around them tend to get infected.
Because these teeth become impacted in the jaw and irritate the tissues around them, they are likely to become infected. An infection in an impacted wisdom tooth can be very painful, and it can also spread to neighboring teeth. It can even spread to the brain tissue or through the bloodstream, which are life-threatening problems. Anesthesia is not as effective on infected teeth as it is on healthy ones. It's therefore best (and less painful) to remove wisdom teeth before they get infected.
Wisdom teeth are easier to remove when you are young.
One reason why you should not just wait and have the teeth removed if and when they do cause a problem is that it's far easier to remove teeth when a person is still young. When you're in your late teens and early 20s, your jaw bone is softer, so your dentist will have an easier time removing the teeth. If you wait until your mid-20s or later, the surgery will be more extensive and a lot riskier.
If your dentist is recommending that you have your wisdom teeth removed, you'll be wise to follow their instructions.
For more information about wisdom teeth extraction, contact a dental clinic like Cusumano Oral Surgery & Implant Center.