Do I Need to Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars that typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they come in at a more mature age when individuals are supposed to have gained wisdom.

However, the arrival of these teeth often raises questions for many individuals, such as whether they need to be removed.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth a Concern?

Wisdom teeth can be problematic for several reasons. First, they often don’t have enough space to emerge properly, leading to impaction. This means they don’t fully come through the gumline or emerge at an angle. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause various oral health issues, including:

  • Pain and Discomfort: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort in the back of the mouth. This can range from mild to severe and may interfere with your daily activities.
  • Infection: When wisdom teeth partially emerge and create a flap of gum tissue, food particles and bacteria can easily get trapped underneath. This can lead to infection, known as pericoronitis, which can cause swelling, pain, and even fever.
  • Crowding: The emergence of wisdom teeth can lead to overcrowding in your mouth. This can result in misalignment of your existing teeth, leading to the need for orthodontic treatment.
  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Wisdom teeth can push against the neighbouring molars, causing damage to them. This can lead to cavities, fractures, and other dental problems.
  • Cysts and Tumours: In some cases, cysts or tumours can form around impacted wisdom teeth. While these occurrences are rare, they can have serious consequences if left untreated.

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

The decision to remove wisdom teeth depends on various factors, including the individual’s age, oral health, and the positioning of the teeth. In general, there are a few scenarios in which wisdom teeth removal may be recommended:

  • Impaction: If your wisdom teeth are impacted or not emerging properly, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend removal to prevent future problems.
  • Pain and Discomfort: If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain and discomfort, it may be necessary to remove them to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Infection: If you have recurrent infections around your wisdom teeth (pericoronitis) or signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend extraction.
  • Orthodontic Treatment: If your orthodontist determines that your wisdom teeth are causing crowding and misalignment of your other teeth, removal may be recommended as part of your orthodontic treatment plan.
  • Dental Problems: If your wisdom teeth are damaging adjacent teeth or causing other dental problems, removal may be necessary to preserve your overall oral health.
  • Cysts or Tumors: If cysts or tumours develop around your wisdom teeth, surgical removal may be required to address these issues.

The Wisdom Tooth Removal Process

If your dentist or oral surgeon recommends wisdom tooth removal, you might be wondering what to expect during the procedure. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Consultation: Before the extraction, you will have a consultation with your dentist or oral surgeon. They will examine your teeth and take X-rays to assess the position of your wisdom teeth and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
  • Anesthesia: On the day of the procedure, you will receive anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the extraction. The type of anesthesia used can vary, from local anesthesia to general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the extraction and your comfort level.
  • Extraction: The dentist or oral surgeon will then remove the wisdom teeth. If the teeth are impacted, they may need to make an incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth. In some cases, the tooth may need to be divided into smaller pieces for easier removal.
  • Stitching: After the extraction, the incision site may be stitched up to promote proper healing. These stitches are typically dissolvable and do not need to be removed.
  • Recovery: You will be monitored in a recovery area until you are awake and stable. You should arrange for someone to drive you home, as the effects of anesthesia can take some time to wear off.
  • Post-Operative Care: Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide you with detailed post-operative care instructions. It’s essential to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery. This may include taking pain medications, using ice packs to reduce swelling, and maintaining proper oral hygiene.

At the end of the day, the decision to remove your wisdom teeth depends on various factors, including your age, oral health, and the positioning of the teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that can alleviate pain, prevent infection, and address potential dental problems.

If you’re experiencing discomfort, have recurrent infections, or are concerned about the impact of your wisdom teeth on your oral health, it’s essential to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

If you need professional dental care in Ontario, contact Dawson Dental. Our experienced team of dentists and oral surgeons can provide you with expert guidance and perform wisdom tooth extractions when necessary. Don’t hesitate to prioritize your oral health and seek the care you need.