Some time around the late teens or early twenties, your wisdom teeth start to erupt. These are the third and final set of molars. When wisdom teeth come in properly—meaning they are correctly aligned—they offer more chewing power. Unfortunately, more often than not, wisdom teeth are misaligned, crowd other teeth, and need to be removed.
Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need Removed
While there’s no clear-cut rule that says every person needs to have his or her wisdom teeth removed, in certain situations one or more of them will cause a problem or pose a strong likelihood that complications will arise in the future that warrant their removal.
Fully Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth is “impacted,” that means it’s covered by gum tissue that prevents it from erupting through the gum. This often occurs when your mouth is too small to provide enough room for the tooth to emerge. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to an acute abscess, known as pericoronitis.
Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth is partially impacted, which means it’s partially emerged from the gums, we almost always advise removal. Because of its location in the very back of the mouth, a partially erupted wisdom tooth is more susceptible not only to decay and cavities, but also gum disease.
Potential Crowding of Straightened Teeth
If you’ve undergone orthodontic treatment, your teeth are already in their ideal positions, and your bite is healthy and fully functional. The eruption of wisdom teeth can cause your perfectly aligned teeth to shift in order to make room for the new teeth. The wisdom teeth may also alter your bite, and make your teeth come together unevenly.
It’s important to know that the decision to have a wisdom tooth removed isn’t always cut and dried. It is vital for you to talk to us about the alignment of your wisdom teeth if they have already erupted, their health if they’re impacted or partially impacted, and your overall dental health to determine what is best for your situation.