Wisdom Teeth: When and Why They Need to Be Removed

Insights on Wisdom Teeth Management

The wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt in the mouth, typically making their appearance in the late teens or early 20s. While not everyone develops wisdom teeth, for those who do, understanding when and why these teeth may need to be removed is important for maintaining good oral health.

At Aesthetic Dental Associates, located in Seattle, under the care of Dr. Dr. Robert E. Johnson, we prioritize your oral health and provide tips on wisdom teeth management. Contact us at (206)682-3888 to schedule an appointment with our downtown Seattle dentists.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes called the third molars, wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt or grow into the mouth. 

Wisdom teeth usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25, though they can erupt earlier or later. Not everyone gets wisdom teeth — some people never develop them at all.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

There are several common reasons that dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth.

Lack of Space in The Mouth

When there’s inadequate space in the jaw for wisdom teeth to erupt properly, issues can arise. Impaction occurs when the teeth can’t fully break through the gum tissue due to a lack of room. Crowding is another problem where the wisdom teeth put pressure on existing teeth, leading to misalignment.

Potential for Damage to Nearby Teeth

Even if partially erupted, wisdom teeth can rub against and damage the teeth in front of them over time. Removing them prevents this deterioration.

Difficulty with Oral Hygiene

The location of wisdom teeth at the very back of the mouth makes them extremely difficult to clean. This allows bacteria to accumulate and increases the risk of infection, gum disease, and cavities.

Presence of Disease

Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt allow an opening for bacteria to enter the gums and create conditions for cysts, tumors, or other abnormalities to develop. Extraction is often the best way to treat these conditions.

Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?dentist performing a deep cleaning for a patient

The main reasons our Aesthetic Dental Associates dentist recommends extracting wisdom teeth include:

  • Prevent impaction damage: Impacted teeth can damage adjacent teeth as well as the nerves and jaw bones. Removing them avoids these issues.
  • Avoid crowding and bite issues: Wisdom teeth can crowd and shift the positions of other teeth over time, leading to bite and alignment problems.
  • Eliminate infection risk: The hard-to-reach location of wisdom teeth makes them susceptible to bacteria buildup, increasing the chance of periodontal infection.
  • Stop deterioration of adjacent teeth: The rubbing of partially erupted wisdom teeth can gradually wear away and damage the teeth in front of them. Extraction prevents this.
  • Treat disease or abnormalities: Cysts, tumors, and other growths may develop around impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth and require extraction to resolve.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure

The wisdom teeth removal procedure includes a few steps.

Consultation and Imaging

The dentist will examine the wisdom teeth and take X-rays to evaluate their position and any potential issues.

Removal Process

We offer two types of removal procedures depending on how your wisdom teeth are positioned, such as:

  • Simple extraction – For wisdom teeth that have fully erupted, a dentist can usually remove them the same way as any other tooth extraction.
  • Surgical extraction – If a wisdom tooth is impacted or stuck under the gum/jawbone, surgical extraction will be required. The gum tissue is opened, the bone may need to be removed, and the tooth will be sectioned into pieces to extract it.

Recovery and Post-op Instructions

You’ll be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics after surgery and will need to follow careful instructions on diet, oral hygiene, and activity level in the following days to allow proper healing. You can expect some side effects, such as swelling, pain, and stiffness. 

Don’t Wait! Schedule Your Appointment for Exceptional Dental Care!

Ready to take charge of your oral health? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Dr. Robert E. Johnson at Aesthetic Dental Associates today. Don’t wait, prioritize your dental wellness by calling (206)682-3888 to ensure it stays bright and healthy for years to come.