If you’re someone who has gotten wisdom teeth – not everyone does! – then you have more than likely heard that you should have your wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common procedures, with over 90% of adult Americans having gotten their wisdom teeth removed. But if you get wisdom teeth in the first place, why remove them? They wouldn’t come in if they didn’t serve a purpose, right? Here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth removal.
What Is The Purpose Of Wisdom Teeth?
Since not everyone gets wisdom teeth and since so many people have them removed, this begs the question of why we even have them. Wisdom teeth are among what scientists call vestigial organs. This means that while we needed our wisdom teeth once, through evolution, they’ve become virtually useless. We have soft foods and utensils now, which makes eating a lot easier on our teeth, but ancient humans didn’t have these luxuries, and their diet would wear their teeth down, necessitating wisdom teeth. That extra set of molars helped with chewing coarse and hard foods then, but now? We don’t need them.
In fact, not getting your wisdom teeth is something that affects a fair amount of people. For others, their wisdom teeth never erupt from their gums or do so only partially. For others still, their wisdom teeth do fully emerge. While once, we may have needed wisdom teeth for chewing, now, wisdom teeth often cause more harm than good, which is why so many dentists recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed.
Why Do So Many People Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Many people have their wisdom teeth removed because of the problems they can cause, either to resolve the issues they cause or as a preventative measure to keep them from ever occurring. Some of the problems that can arise from your wisdom teeth include:
- Not enough room in your jaw, leading to impacting.
For the majority of people, we only have room for the teeth we have before we get our wisdom teeth in our jaw. This means that when you get your wisdom teeth, there isn’t the space for them, which leads to them being unable to fully erupt or misaligning.
- Coming in crooked.
If your wisdom teeth do come in fully, but they do so sideways or misaligned, this can cause damage to the surrounding teeth.
- Gum pain.
Wisdom teeth that don’t erupt fully can cause gum infection from food and bacteria that can get trapped, since it’s hard to clean teeth that are so far back in your mouth.
Cysts can form by your wisdom teeth, which can then lead to destruction of your bone or the roots of your teeth, and even tumors in more severe cases.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?
Do you really need to have your wisdom teeth removed? It depends. A lot of people don’t have any problems with their wisdom teeth and can keep them. If your wisdom teeth come in fully and there’s room in your jaw for them, they may not ever cause issues. However, most people don’t have the room in their jaw for wisdom teeth, and often experience their wisdom teeth only partially erupting or coming in wrong. These can lead to the aforementioned issues that are why it’s so strongly recommended that you have your wisdom teeth removed.
Wisdom teeth that erupt upright and aligned with the rest of your teeth and that don’t cause any pain or gum disease can typically stay. However, even if your wisdom teeth do come in properly, they are subject to increased risk for decay and other such problems, because they are so far back in your mouth and thus harder to clean than the rest of your teeth.
If your wisdom teeth don’t come in properly, then yes, you should have them removed. Even if your wisdom teeth never erupt, they can still get impacted in the bone and cause problems. Your dentist will examine the state of how your wisdom teeth are coming in in order to determine how likely they are to cause problems and whether or not removal is necessary.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
It depends on how your wisdom teeth are positioned and coming in. If your wisdom teeth don’t erupt, partially erupt, or come in wrong, then you could experience a lot of dental problems. If they come in properly, you could be fine if you are extra vigilant about keeping them clean, but they can still lead to complications over time. It’s best to consult with your dentist and maintain your regular cleaning so that they can monitor the state of your teeth and determine whether or not you really need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
North View Dental offers affordable dental care that is personalized to you. We will work with you to recommend the best course of action for you, personally. Our team consists of highly trained dentists who have years of experience. For more information about our services or wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to contact us today!