Often the staff at our oral and maxillofacial surgery center is asked, what happens if you don’t remove your wisdom teeth? That’s a fair question. So we thought we’d answer it in a general way here. Not removing your wisdom teeth is as common as removing them. However, which way is best? What are the pros and cons of wisdom teeth removal?
Not Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
For some people, this is a fallback position. They ignore their wisdom teeth and just hope they come in straight. However, a simple dental x-ray may tell a different story. That’s why regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist can reveal what the right course of action is. It’s always better to be proactive.
Before the teeth come in, X-rays show the position and direction of a tooth before it erupts at the surface. Once the tooth comes in, it shouldn’t crowd the teeth next to it. Since these teeth grow very slowly, patients should make sure to have regular dental visits which can tell them if a problem has occurred.
Once they are in, the tooth must be well cared for. Since it is in the back, it may take extra time to ensure that it stays as clean as the front teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Removal is Better than an Impacted Tooth
If your periodic X-rays show a problem, the worst thing you can do for your mouth health is to ignore it. You don’t want an impacted tooth. This is one that is stuck under the gums and can’t get out. It will start to affect the teeth that it is touching or pushing.
Furthermore, it can become infected. Like any other bacteria, oral bacteria can travel and start to attack your organs, including your kidneys and your heart.
The impacted tooth may develop a cyst or a tumor. This damages the nerves that connect teeth to the jaw. It can begin to eat away at the jaw, leading to long-term damage to the facial structure.
Further Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Beyond preventing an infection, there are benefits of wisdom tooth removal that affect your whole mouth. A wisdom tooth can come in crooked, pushing the other teeth. If you or your child has had braces, then this will reverse progress.
When teeth crowd together, they are more susceptible to cavities and other decay. Overlapping teeth tend to trap particles. They are harder to clean both by the individual and by the dental hygienist. Too many back teeth can lead to biting the gum during regular chewing.
Clearly, these situations are best avoided. If a dentist is telling you to get your wisdom teeth removed, they are probably right. The best way to know for sure is to get an exam at our oral surgery clinic.