Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Really Necessary?

We talk about wisdom tooth extraction like it’s a rite of passage, a necessary step in the journey from adolescence to adulthood. Given that the wisdom teeth usually begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 21 — when teens begin maturing into young adults — extraction does seem like a coming-of-age event.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to get your wisdom teeth removed.

Although most patients end up needing wisdom tooth removal, every mouth is different. And in some cases, the procedure isn’t necessary.

Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction Isn’t Always Necessary

Did your wisdom teeth seem to come in just fine? Are they causing you no problems? If your third molars erupted properly, without damaging your tooth alignment, you may not need to have them removed.

Although that may sound like good news, don’t celebrate yet. Your oral surgeon may recommend that you consider tooth extraction anyway, as a preventive measure.

Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction May Be Recommended

Your wisdom teeth may be problem-free now, but that could easily change. Because of their position in the mouth, the third molars are difficult to clean properly. This increases the risk of gum disease, which can spread and cause damage to your other teeth and the underlying bone. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

So even if your third molars aren’t impacted, poorly positioned or causing pain, tooth extraction may be advised to prevent future oral health problems.

Scheduling Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure

If you need to get your wisdom teeth removed, try to schedule the procedure for a date when you can take a short break from school or work.

Most patients recover quickly, returning to their regular activities within a few days. But that might not be the case for you, as not everyone heals quickly. If your third molars are impacted or your extraction procedure is complex, the recovery period can take several days longer. And although complications are rare, you could be one of the unlucky few who suffers an infection or dry socket. If that happens, you’ll need some extra time to heal.

Are you ready to determine whether you need wisdom tooth removal? If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for a professional evaluation by an experienced oral surgeon.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, specialists in the management of wisdom teeth, have the qualifications to determine when removing the third molars is necessary. Contact one of our three convenient offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Toole — to schedule a consultation for wisdom tooth extraction.