Be wise: know when it’s time for wisdom tooth removal

What’s the deal with wisdom teeth? It seems like most people have them, but most people don’t end up keeping them! Wisdom teeth – also called third molars – usually erupt between ages 16 and 25.  While some people experience no complications or concerns related to wisdom teeth, more than 80 percent of Americans will have wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives.   Regular visits to the dentist can not only help you maintain your overall dental health, your dental care provider can also help you watch out for issues that may be caused by wisdom teeth.


Wisdom teeth form and erupt in the back of the mouth, a very crowded location.  Brushing and flossing in the back of the mouth is hard to do to ensure thorough cleaning. And wisdom teeth often come in at an angle or crooked, leaving pockets of space that can attract bacteria and lead to decay.

Gum inflammation and infection

Wisdom teeth can easily become impacted, which means that they can be fully or partially covered by gums or bone.  Impacted teeth and crowded conditions can lead to gum inflammation and eventually gum infection, a condition that is sometimes very hard to treat and can lead to other health concerns.

Damage to other teeth

Wisdom teeth are located behind all of your other teeth in the very back of your jaw.  While you may not experience any discomfort or symptoms for quite some time, wisdom teeth can silently be damaging your other teeth, pushing and crowding teeth and even leading to bone loss or cavities in neighboring molars.

Sinus issues

Your upper wisdom teeth are located very close to your sinuses.  Unchecked, wisdom teeth can lead to sinus pain, infection, pressure, congestion and other unpleasant and uncomfortable issues.

Cysts and tumors

Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to small cysts and tumors that can eventually cause severe damage to the jaw bone and your nerves and can even cause TMJ-type joint paint.

Wisdom tooth concerns develop slowly over time.  By the time you feel discomfort, it’s probably well past time for your wisdom teeth to be removed.  Regular checkups with your dentist will keep you informed about your overall dental health and the state or your wisdom teeth.  And if you do need your wisdom teeth removed, your dentist can help refer you to an experienced oral surgeon that specializes in the procedure.  Your oral surgeon can help to ensure that your procedure is as pain-free as possible, and will outline a plan of care to keep you comfortable as you recover from wisdom tooth removal. 

Many dentists and oral surgeons even use the DentalVibe tool to make sure that you don’t feel the dental injection that will numb your mouth prior to the procedure. Your dentist’s office and oral surgeon’s office will work with you to make sure that you feel fully informed about the procedure, that you have a pain-free experience, and that you recover as quickly and completely as possible.

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