Many patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed even if they are not having any problems with them. One motivating factor for this is the relationship between the patient’s age and the oral surgery. The extraction procedure and subsequent recovery tends to be easier on patients in their late teens and early twenties.
Therefore, if you are planning to have your wisdom teeth removed, your dentist may recommend that you do so before age 25. As patients get older, the roots of those teeth get longer and more solidified in the jaw, making it more difficult to remove them. The greater complexity of wisdom tooth extraction in older patients may also make the recovery more difficult.
Why do so many people even have their wisdom teeth removed, you may ask? In modern humans, the wisdom teeth often become impacted because our jaws are much smaller than those of our ancestors. There is not enough room for those large third molars—the largest teeth we have—to emerge properly.
Because some bone material may be obscuring these teeth, they often must be removed surgically rather than with a simple extraction.
When these teeth become impacted, they can be more susceptible to a host of problems, such as cysts, tumors, abscesses and decay. They may also be more likely to damage surrounding teeth and knock the smile out of alignment as they continue to try to push through the gums.
With x-rays and a visual examination of the jaw, a dentist can determine the likelihood of wisdom tooth impaction in relatively young patients. Therefore, the patient should have ample opportunity to decide whether to proceed with extraction before the wisdom teeth’s roots are entrenched in the jaw.
If you still have your wisdom teeth and are in your late teens or early twenties, schedule an evaluation at either of our convenient locations to learn whether you should consider having them extracted. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of extraction to make a fully informed decision.