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It is best to keep wisdom teeth intact when they are not negatively impacting oral and/or overall health. Properly erupted wisdom teeth provide support in the back of the mouth and help maintain bone in the jaw. This support is beneficial to the health of the temporomandibular joint. A research review published during the summer by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that there was no evidence to support or refute routine removal of teeth that aren’t causing symptoms. They did not find a single well-designed study that compared the quality of life for those who’d had symptom-free teeth removed with those who’d kept them. Getting your wisdom teeth removed has become a sort of rite of passage- but not everyone needs to have them removed. Let’s find out if you need this procedure and what can happen if you keep your wisdom teeth.

Where Are Wisdom Teeth Located?

Wisdom teeth erupt in the very back of your mouth, just behind your second molars. People who have all four wisdom teeth have one in each quadrant — the upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right. They have probably been named wisdom teeth because they do not come in until about age 17-21, when you are supposed to be wiser. Wisdom teeth are molars and complete your set of 32 adult teeth.  

Reasons Your Dentist May Suggest You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted

According to the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth removal may be necessary if you experience changes in the area of those teeth, such as:

  •  Sinus Pain – The wisdom teeth in the upper jaw can push against your sinuses leading to pressure, headaches, and congestion.
  • The teeth are impacted, and you are having repeated infections of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth.
  •  Fluid-filled sacs (cysts)
  • Your mouth is not big enough – your jaw does not have enough room for an extra set of molars.
  • Not being able to reach your wisdom tooth with your toothbrush could cause cavities and gum disease. This can cause your oral health to be compromised.

Each year 10 million wisdom teeth are removed in the United States because of these problems.

How Long Does A Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure Take?

Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less. You’ll get anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the removal. Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of local anesthetics such as Novocain, lidocaine, or mepivacaine, or general anesthetic where you’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe the gas in through a mask. You’ll be asleep the whole time and might not wake up for an hour or so after the surgery. You and your dentist will decide which is best for you.  If you need wisdom teeth removed, your dentist will outline a treatment plan.  To save time, you may be able to have multiple wisdom teeth removed in one appointment.

Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Ideally, you should ask your dentist if he or she foresees any problems with your wisdom teeth and if you should be evaluated by a surgeon. X-rays can tell if problems are anticipated, and your dentist will be able to see if your wisdom teeth are going to cause issues, either in the present or future.  As you get older your bones become more brittle, which can make the removal and recovery process more difficult.  So the rule of thumb is to have them removed at a younger age if a problem is anticipated. You might be lucky, and your wisdom teeth will grow in perfectly straight and healthy.

The best advice is to contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment to bring it up at your next dental checkup if you still have your wisdom teeth.

Contact us (859) 586-7900 for more information or to make an appointment!

About Torbeck Dental

Torbeck Dental treats every patient with dignity and excellent care. We are highly trained dental professionals with exceptionally friendly and helpful service. We understand that for many, visiting a dentist can be a stressful experience so our comfortable surroundings and compassionate staff will ease any fears you may have. We are here to help you achieve your happiest and healthiest smile! Our dental team are a group of experienced professionals using the latest treatments. Our team has the professional experience to realize that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so we never use a one-size-fits-all approach to your dental plan. We provide quality and personalized oral health care while keeping your individuality in mind. Our goal is to improve and maintain your oral health so you can smile with confidence!