When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

by Theodore J. Grellner DDS Dec 29, 2016 | Tags Wisdom Teeth Tooth Extraction Oral Surgery

Wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed, but it is often recommended for many patients. Let's consider some factors.


As you reach your late teens, you are likely to discuss wisdom tooth removal with your dentist. Wisdom teeth are the additional set of molars (third molars) that typically emerge in the early twenties. These additional molars are located at the very back of the mouth, and they are not necessary for biting and chewing. In many cases these third molars lead to a number of dental problems and wellness concerns.

The team at our Tampa dental care center have fielded numerous questions about wisdom tooth removal and oral surgery. Right now, we want to consider whether or not wisdom tooth extraction is necessary and what we keep in mind when making this determination.

Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed? - Not necessarily.

For some, their wisdom teeth come in perfectly straight and do not cause any problems or increased risk of dental issues. However, that is not always the case with all people. There are a number of cases in which wisdom teeth come in crooked, resulting in minor and major problems. Removal of the wisdom teeth helps prevent these issues from arising.

The Issue of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Impaction is one of the most common problems with wisdom teeth. This means that the wisdom teeth are coming in crooked and growing at an angle that does not allow them to fully emerge. This can be quite painful, and it can lead to damage to adjacent teeth and even the jawbone.

Health Problems That Wisdom Teeth Can Cause

When wisdom teeth are impacted, there are several dental health issues that dentists consider.

  • Dental Pain – It can be very painful to have wisdom teeth come in crooked, resulting in major and persistent toothaches.
  • Damaged Teeth – If the wisdom teeth press against your existing molars, they can cause damage to those teeth because of the pressure exerted on the tooth structure.
  • Gum Inflammation – It's not uncommon for the gum tissue around wisdom teeth to become swollen if they are not coming in straight.
  • Damage to the Jaw – Cysts may potentially form around the wisdom teeth, causing damage to the jawbone or the nerves in the jaw.
  • Problems with Dental Alignment – When wisdom teeth come in crooked, they can lead to your other teeth becoming poorly aligned. They can potentially undo years of orthodontic care.
  • Sinus Problems – Depending on how the upper wisdom teeth are coming in, they can contribute to sinus pain and congestion.

Even when wisdom teeth come in straight, their mere presence can make proper oral hygiene much more difficult. There may be limited space at the back of the mouth, making it harder to brush your teeth or floss. Food particles can become lodged there and contribute to serious cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease.

Determining If Wisdom Tooth Removal Is Necessary

During a consultation with our dental care team, we can take x-rays and perform full diagnostics to determine if the removal of your wisdom teeth is necessary. We'll help ensure you receive the right treatment given your needs.

Learn More About Oral Surgery and Advanced Dental Care

To learn more about wisdom teeth and whether or not they should be removed, be sure to contact an experienced oral surgeon and dental care specialist today. Our team looks forward to your visit and helping you have the healthiest mouth possible.

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