Wisdom Teeth: To Pull or Not to Pull?

A common dental procedure, wisdom tooth extraction has a reputation for being painful and gruesome.  While this may have been the case at one point, it certainly isn’t the case today.  Painkilling medication and advancements in extraction technology have made the process quick and simple.  Often, patients are able to return to their regular lives, eating and drinking normally within a week.

The question is whether or not extraction is an inevitability, or just a possibility.

A majority of individuals will experience an issue with their wisdom teeth at some point in their lives.  However, not all of these individuals will have their wisdom teeth extracted.   The two deciding factors are whether or not the erupting tooth causes the patient pain/discomfort, or if it pushes other teeth out of alignment.

As a wisdom tooth erupts through the gums, pain is often not far behind.  Even if the tooth appears to be coming in straight, some dentists will recommend extraction.  Removing the erupting tooth and any others that still remain below the surface can eliminate the potential for pain in the future.  It is important to remember that tooth movement can be unpredictable, erupting straight one day and then taking a crooked turn the next.

Wisdom teeth also have a nasty reputation for growing and moving in odd directions.  In some cases these teeth may grow nearly perpendicular, causing serious alignment issues.  As the wisdom tooth moves, it may squeeze the other teeth together.  If this isn’t addressed early, the patient may end up with a severely misaligned bite.

What is important to remember is that wisdom tooth extraction is a luxury that advancements in dental technology have provided for us.  Just as braces help patients align their teeth, wisdom tooth extraction can help patients keep their teeth aligned and reduce the potential for pain and discomfort.

We recommend that you speak with your dentist regarding the options surrounding your wisdom teeth.