As the most common oral surgery procedure performed these days, wisdom teeth extraction is starting to become a common experience among people of all ages and a rite of passage for young adults. These days, it seems like as soon as they start peeping out, dentists want them gone, gone, gone, even if they’re not causing any problems at the time. Could it be a scam? Or are these late-blooming teeth really a threat?
Well, let’s start by looking at what wisdom teeth are and what could make them undesirable. Wisdom teeth are the last to come in of the permanent teeth because of how back they are in the mouth. Typically, they come in between the ages of 17 and 25. Because of their positioning and the time that the other teeth have had to shift around, they rarely fully erupt or come out above the gums, and rather tend to just peep out a little or not at all.
When only partially above the gums, they are hard to clean both because they are so far back and because plaque easily embeds itself into the harder to reach crevices around the tooth; this results in an increased chance of cavities, which can spread to nearby teeth, and other tooth and gum infections. Many times wisdom teeth can also become impacted, where it grows in a way that puts pressure on surrounding teeth, possibly shifting its adjacent teeth to shift or causing pain.
It would make sense that some would get them removed when trouble starts, but how come so many people get them removed even without any pain or ailments showing? The reason so many people choose to get them removed as a preventative measure is that about 80% of people do not have the adequate jaw bone structure to facilitate the successful eruption of the wisdom teeth, and typically about 70% those that decide to keep their wisdom teeth end up facing complications with them later on.
In conclusion, yes, there is the possibility that someone who gets them removed preemptively could have never faced any issues with them had they kept them in. But because it’s more likely than not that complications will arise, it could be worth it just to avoid the pain. In the end, it is your decision, and if you do decide to keep your wisdom teeth, dental hygiene is more important than ever. Make sure that you are reaching all of the surfaces back there, and keep up with your biannual dentist checkups to watch for any early warning signs of trouble.