Ask the Dentist: Is it Necessary to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

SayAhIt’s always good to have a back-up plan. Wisdom teeth, our third set of molars, were designed as the back-up plan in case we happen to wear out our first two sets. If that’s the case, why do wisdom teeth get removed so often? Will it be necessary for your child to have his or her wisdom teeth removed? Here are some of the most common reasons these backmost teeth are forced to go:

  • The wisdom tooth is not positioned correctly. A tilted wisdom tooth, for instance, may create a pocket for bacterial plaque and debris to accumulate.
  • The wisdom tooth is partially erupted. This puts your child at risk of decay and pericoronitis, a bacterial infection of the gum around the tooth.
  • A wisdom tooth is trapped below the gums and bone. Over the years, this may lead to problems, such as pain or damage to the roots of other teeth, or more rarely, cyst formation around the unerupted tooth.
  • Due to its location, wisdom teeth are hard to reach and clean. This may lead to advanced decay of the wisdom teeth and the neighboring molars.

Our dentists consider wisdom tooth removal on a case-by-case basis. While teens once had their wisdom teeth removed as a right of passage to prevent future problems, our practice doesn’t advise removal unless there is good cause for it. With regular check ups and x-rays, it is easy to monitor kids’ growing wisdom teeth to ensure they are developing normally and in proper alignment.

Should your child get braces before all his permanent teeth have come in? Read our blog, Braces on Baby Teeth, if a crooked set of primary teeth have you wondering.

Photo (featured): www.photographybyjoelle.com/CC BY 2.0

Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I had my wisdom teeth removed at the West Edmonton dental. My teeth were coming in sideways. Good thing I got them out.

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