Why do we have our wisdom teeth removed?

Dr. Laura Geiger, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana explains how 70-90% of people develop at least one wisdom tooth and why dentists recommend getting your wisdom teeth removed, especially in patients between the ages of 15-20 years old.

Dr. Geiger further explains the symptoms of wisdom teeth including bad breath, pain around gums and limited opening of the jaw.

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Hi, I’m Dr. Geiger with Southeast Family Dental. Today we’re gonna be talking about wisdom teeth, or third molars as we call them.

We get a lot of questions about them and a lot of people that need to have them taken out. About 70-90% of people develop at least one wisdom tooth, and that comes from multiple sources so the range. And the part that is interesting is that some people develop as little as one wisdom tooth, some unfortunately develop all four, and some do not develop them at all.

And the main reason that people need to have them out is that, as we’ve gone through evolution, our jaw size has changed and now our jaws are smaller, we don’t have enough room for the wisdom teeth to come in.

So a lot of times that’s why people have to have them taken out. Now just because you don’t have enough room for them to come in is not exactly the problem. The problem is, that the wisdom teeth tend to push on the teeth in front of them, causing pressure, which then can lead to having those teeth taken out.

So, a lot of times we recommend, especially between the ages of 15 to 20, that patients have them removed. The reason we like to have them removed at that kind of ideal 15 to 20 age range, is that’s them time when the wisdom teeth have developed enough to be able to take them out, but also the patient is young enough that you’re gonna heal a lot better and a lot faster.

Some people don’t have any symptoms with their wisdom teeth. Other people can develop them as they start to come through or try to come through the gum. This can be bad breath, some pain around the gum, limited opening up the jaw. If you have any of those symptoms or experience anything, you need to talk to your dentist.

The first thing we’re gonna do it take an x-ray called a panoramic x-ray. This takes a good full view of your mouth and lets us see any wisdom teeth that might be developing, whether they’re through the gums or not. This also can tell us where they are and whether we think they need to be removed.

Not every time does someone have to have them taken out. Depending on, especially the lower wisdom teeth, we have to be very careful of the nerve that runs through the jaw. So again that would be a reason why we take the x-ray.

So if you experience any symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth or if your dentist has told you that you have them, again the first thing we’re gonna do is take an x-ray. It’s really gonna be up to your dentist and maybe an oral surgeon who’s gonna determine when and if your wisdom teeth need to be removed.

Again, talking to your dentist to be the first and most important thing. Again, this is Laura Geiger with Southeast Family Dental and remember, we can make you smile.