Nobody wants to hear that they have to have surgery. But when it comes to wisdom teeth, around 90% of Americans have had theirs removed. The treatment is pretty easy, but why is it such a common procedure? At our dental office in Edina, we have the scoop on why so many people have their wisdom teeth taken out.
The top reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there isn’t enough room in your mouth for these four back molars, or “third molars,” to fit. Through dental x-rays, we can tell whether or not there will be enough space for wisdom teeth pretty early in their development. When caught early, removal tends to be easier. This is one reason regular visits to your dentist in Edina are so important. However, if wisdom teeth continue to develop into an area where they can’t fit, they can cause healthy teeth to shift or become overcrowded. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted or essentially stuck in your bone or in the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful, and surgery may be a bit more complicated.
Let’s say you’re one of the rare people whose wisdom teeth grow in nice and straight, and there’s plenty of room for them to safely erupt. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t put you in the clear to keep them. Since wisdom teeth are located all the way in the back of the mouth, they can be difficult to brush and floss effectively. When teeth can’t be thoroughly cleaned, bacteria are left behind to cause cavities and can even lead to gum disease. Extraction may be recommended if there’s concern over proper care.
While pretty rare, there are times when wisdom teeth grow in perfectly fine, people are able to keep great care of them, and they don’t increase the chance of greater problems. When this happens, it may be best to let them be. Additionally, some people may never have to worry about whether to leave their wisdom teeth or get them removed because sometimes, the teeth just don’t develop.
Regular visits at our dental office in Edina help get and keep your mouth healthy and can also catch any potential problems with your wisdom teeth before they arise. If your wisdom teeth are already causing pain, or removal wasn’t recommended in time before they erupted, call to schedule your appointment today. We’ll make sure to recommend the best option for you and your wise molars.