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Do all patients need to have their wisdom teeth removed?


oral-surgery1-300x234Wisdom tooth removal has nearly become a rite of passage. It seems like almost every older teenager or young adult has undergone the procedure. Anyone who hasn’t had his or her wisdom teeth removed yet may wonder, though, do all patients need to have a wisdom tooth extraction?

The wisdom teeth often become impacted in the jaw because those teeth are the largest in the mouth and most human jaws do not have enough space to accommodate them along with all of the other teeth. However, this may not happen in all people, and if the wisdom teeth are able to erupt properly, the patient may not need to have them removed.

However, it’s impossible for the patient to know if the wisdom teeth are impacted or not, so all patients should at least be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine the status of their wisdom teeth and whether extraction is indicated.

Understandably, some patients may be reluctant to consider a surgical extraction if they are not experiencing any troubling symptoms from their wisdom teeth, even if the oral surgeon recommends the treatment. However, impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to a variety of problems, ranging from cysts and tumors to infections and abscesses. These teeth may even push the other teeth out of alignment or damage surrounding teeth as they continue to try to push through the gums. Having a preventive wisdom tooth extraction reduces your risk of these outcomes.

Furthermore, there’s another compelling reason to avoid putting off wisdom tooth removal for too long: younger patients tend to fare better after the procedure. It’s easier to remove the wisdom teeth in younger patients because the roots aren’t as entrenched. Therefore, it’s recommended that patients have their wisdom teeth removed by age 25.

While a small number of patients may not need to have their wisdom teeth removed, this is pretty rare. Most patients will have impacted wisdom teeth that need to be extracted surgically. If you still have your wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation at one of our convenient locations to see if they should be removed.