Wisdom teeth removal isn’t for everyone. If you’re between the ages of 17 and 25, you may be debating whether or not to remove this third set of molars. While there are many proven benefits to having your wisdom teeth taken out, many dentists are recommending that patients hold off on the procedure, keeping them under close observation if their teeth look properly aligned and healthy. Before taking the plunge, you might consider weighing these pros and cons of the procedure with your dentist at Valley Dental Care.
PRO: Reduce the Risk of Crowding
Wisdom teeth don’t always fit perfectly behind your second set of molars. Research has shown that they grow in at an angle about 44 percent of the time. Should this happen, it can crowd the surrounding teeth or even grow roots into them. Not only does this misalign the adjacent teeth, but it also can trap food particles, debris, and plaque between the molars— ultimately leading to tooth decay. If this isn’t prevented with a preemptive removal of the wisdom teeth, you may require braces to fix the issue.
CON: The Risk of Surgical Complications
One of the most common complications to occur from wisdom teeth removal is infection, particularly for tobacco users or patients over the age of 26. However, being diligent about rinsing the affected area can help you to reduce this risk significantly. After the extraction, you will need to avoid drinking through a straw, spitting, and smoking among other things, as this could cause “dry socket”—a condition where blood clots fail to form or fall out prematurely, leaving the socket open to bacteria and food. This can be very painful, but will resolve after a few days.
PRO: Avoid Painful Impacted Teeth
On many occasions, a wisdom tooth will only break partway through the gum, becoming partially or completely trapped (also known as “impacted”). Not only can this be particularly painful, making your jaw feel stiff, but it can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Preemptive removal can spare you from the pain (and future dental visits) that result from an impacted tooth.
CON: The Procedure Requires Anesthesia
If you have had any complications with anesthesia in the past, it is important that you notify your dentist in advance. Your dentist will need to numb your mouth before extracting the tooth, so it is important that they know if you have an allergy or other negative reactions before having oral surgery.
PRO: Daily Care is Easier
Wisdom teeth are particularly difficult to access with your toothbrush and dental floss simply because of their location in the very back of your mouth. This means that, over time, these wisdom teeth can accumulate bacteria, acids, and food debris, leading to bad breath, cavities, and even infections in the gums. Removing the wisdom teeth means not having to deal with the inconvenience of caring for them!
CON: May Have Post-Operative Discomfort
You will likely experience some discomfort after removing the wisdom teeth. Most dentists will recommend that you use aspirin or ibuprofen for a few days to help you with the pain and control any swelling. They may also prescribe an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection that we mentioned earlier. Bleeding is inevitable after the surgery, so you will need to use gauze pads to reduce the bleeding. And remember: no smoking, drinking from straws, or spitting. A “dry socket” can make an already irritating recovery period much worse.
PRO: Save Money in the Long Run
There is some potential risk that comes with allowing your wisdom teeth to grow in. In addition to crowding and impacted teeth, you may also be at risk for cysts, gum disease, nerve damage, tooth decay, and infection. To prevent any issues, your dentist will need to take regularly scheduled x-rays to closely monitor the wisdom teeth for weeks or even months. Should these x-rays indicate any issues, or you begin to develop painful symptoms from the conditions listed above, you may ultimately need to have the procedure anyway. By having a preemptive procedure, you can eliminate the costs of this extra care – not to mention save yourself time!
We know there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to get your wisdom teeth removed. The good news is you don’t need to do it alone! Call us today to schedule a consultation to decide if the procedure is right for you.