The removal of wisdom teeth is a relatively common surgery and is most likely to be done between 17-25 years of age, but there are cases where wisdom teeth have been removed in children as young as 12. However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that it will necessarily need to be done.

On the other hand, keep in mind that even if your wisdom teeth are deemed non-impacted and can be left alone now, this doesn’t mean that they never will become impacted later on. The question is, when is a wisdom tooth extraction necessary? Here are telltale signs that you may need to remove one or more of your wisdom teeth.

1. Pain

Wisdom teeth that are causing you pain should never be ignored. The longer you wait, the more the pain escalates. Many people understandably feel some anxiety about the thought of wisdom teeth extraction because of the pain – however, removing them will relieve you of the pain. Although the surgery may cause some discomfort during recovery time, it is only temporary.

2. Impacted wisdom teeth

Impaction refers to wisdom teeth that are growing at an angle. When left to erupt, impacted wisdom teeth can cause crowding of the teeth and a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If X-ray imaging shows that your wisdom teeth are impacted, your dentist will typically recommend removing them even if they’re not giving you problems right now. In fact, it’s best to have them extracted before they cause serious issues.

3. Jawbone resorption

Jawbone resorption is when the bones collapse under pressure from wisdom teeth, especially if jawbones are already thin. This is not a common problem and is impossible to detect unless you see your dentist regularly. During a routine oral exam, your dentist feels around your jaw and can observe whether there is adequate bone support. If wisdom teeth eruption poses a risk, extraction is necessary.

Other reasons for wisdom teeth removal

There are several other reasons your dentist may recommend that you get your wisdom teeth out. Some people opt for having their wisdom teeth removed due to repeated dental treatments for cavities or gum disease. Other common reasons include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Mouth injuries/accidents
  • Damage done during birth
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Crowding of the mouth, causing other teeth to be damaged

To sum it up, wisdom teeth extraction is meant to relieve pain and prevent problems. Some patients choose to have them removed for peace of mind, even if they don’t pose any trouble. While your dentist can make an educated recommendation, only you can decide to go ahead with the procedure.