Wisdom Teeth Series: Why Remove Them?

It’s a well known fact that most people hate going to the dentist. We’re afraid that it’s going to hurt no matter how reassuring our dentist may be, or how much anesthetic we’re given. People are especially afraid of having their wisdom teeth removed, seeing as there are so many horror stories surrounding it. The truth is, however, that for almost everyone, getting your wisdom teeth removed is the smart thing to do in the long run.

Wisdom Tooth Basics

Wisdom teeth start to grow in our early adolescence, and as they develop they can cause serious problems. If they become impacted – meaning, if they grow perpendicular to the tooth next to them, they will push against the “good” tooth and push the remaining teeth forward. This will lead to major problems with a person’s bite and overall dental health. Additionally, if the teeth crowded by the wisdom teeth have fillings in them, the fillings can fall out, which will lead to major tooth decay and infections and require root canals and crown work. Both of these procedures can be painful, and both cost a lot of money if you’re paying out-of-pocket. If you have dental insurance you still might have to make a high co-pay.

Tooth Disease Prevention

Another problem caused by wisdom teeth is pericoronitis. In this instance, the wisdom tooth only partially emerges over the gum line, and so a soft-tissue skin flap, called an operculum forms. Operculums are difficult to clean, and if debris and bacteria form there, it leads to pericoronitis. This infection can become quite severe if it gets far enough, or is left untreated.

If you’ve got questions about your wisdom teeth, be sure to consult with your dentist about how to proceed. It’s important to remember that wisdom teeth may seem innocuous at first, but even if they’re inactive for the first few years, they can start to move, and create big problems. These are also very expensive problems, especially for people without dental insurance.