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Do You Need Your Wisdom Tooth?

If you ever felt teething at the back of your mouth as an adult, it may be a sign of a wisdom tooth coming in. The third and last molars, situated in the corners of the upper and lower jaw, are your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are so called because they are the last ones to appear usually in your late teens or early twenties, the age when you gain maturity and thus wisdom.

A question that often arises when conversing about wisdom teeth, can you keep your wisdom teeth?

To start with, it is not necessary to remove your wisdom teeth. There are two ways in which a wisdom tooth grows. It may grow as any regular teeth, correctly positioned or it may be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are those which have no room to grow and hence they remain below the surface of the gum line getting trapped in the jaw, erupt partially in a horizontal angle, or they grow towards adjacent teeth.

So when can you keep your wisdom teeth?

At occasions when your wisdom teeth grow like any normal teeth causing no pain or problems, you can keep them. Some signs that allow you to keep your wisdom teeth include:

  • When they come in like regular teeth and are well aligned.

  • You are able to clean them thoroughly.

  • No biting or chewing problem with your wisdom teeth

  • The teeth around them as well as your wisdom teeth are healthy.

In spite of them being well aligned and causing no pain, your dentist might suggest an extraction. This is because, wisdom teeth are susceptible to cavities. Due to their location, you may not be able to keep them clean which in turn results in cavity formation.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

As mentioned above, when you have impacted wisdom teeth that grow partially or are misaligned, the dentist will recommend extraction. Impacted wisdom teeth cause crowding or might hurt adjacent teeth. This causes accumulation of plaque and bacteria, leading to infection and other dental issues. Many people feel pain when they get wisdom teeth. This may occur because of collision or infection. Several conditions can erupt if wisdom teeth are not removed:

  • Pain

  • Gum Disease

  • Infections

  • Extensive tooth decay

  • Tumors

  • Cysts

While impacted wisdom teeth require extraction, a dentist might suggest extraction of a normally grown wisdom tooth if he suspects them to cause such dental issues in the future. There is no age of wisdom teeth removal, but it is advisable to get them out at a young age since the roots are not fully developed that eases the treatment and the healing process is faster.

Even though wisdom teeth do not always have to be extracted, they can be vulnerable to cavities. It is best to take a dentist’s advice when you get wisdom teeth. In the case when you do not need removal, frequent dental check-ups can ensure your teeth stay healthy.

Image Source: Brian Rinker, Flickr

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