Wisdom teeth removal has become a very controversial subject in recent years. Driven by the high-profile attention given to a few cases of serious complications, people are thinking very seriously about the issue, trying to determine whether dentists are sincere in their assertion that many people should have their wisdom teeth removed to prevent crowding and potentially serious consequences of wisdom teeth emergence. Or if, as some people assert, there is some kind of deception about the risks of wisdom teeth.
The truth is that some people will benefit from wisdom teeth removal, but it’s not necessary for everyone.
Risks of Wisdom Teeth
The truth is that risks of wisdom teeth are very real. People who don’t have their wisdom teeth removed can face a number of serious complications, such as:
- Infection in or around the wisdom teeth
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Decay in neighboring teeth
- Gum disease leading to receding gums, bone loss, and even tooth loss
- Potential crowding of teeth
Although not everyone will develop these complications, they are common enough that everyone should consider wisdom teeth removal, and people who are at high risk for complications should have them removed before the teeth develop fully, allowing for a less invasive removal procedure.
What’s a High-Risk Situation?
So, how do you know if you’re at a high risk for complications? One of the easiest places to start is to look at your family history. If either of your parents had wisdom-tooth related complications, then it’s likely that you will, too. This is also true if your parents had their wisdom teeth removed because it seemed complications were imminent.
We’ll also evaluate your current oral health and oral hygiene status. If you’re having difficulty cleaning your second molars and you’re experiencing gum disease around them, then it’s probably not a good idea to introduce another tooth that will be even harder to reach and clean.
And then we will evaluate the current shape and position of your third molars. We may be able to tell right now that you are very likely to have complications related to your wisdom teeth and recommend removal to avoid them.
If Your Risks Are Low
But if you don’t have a family history of wisdom teeth problems and we’re not sure whether your developing teeth will cause problems, we might recommend a wait and see attitude. As long as you are making your regular hygiene visits, we should be able to keep an eye on your developing wisdom teeth and let you know if the situation has changed to favor extraction.