I recently took my kids to the pediatric dentist and he showed me on x-rays that two of my kids had their wisdom teeth coming in. He suggested that I meet with an oral surgeon to get them out. On my daughter, I can understand getting them out because they are coming in sideways and are going to put pressure on her teeth that we just got out of braces, potentially shifting them. I can’t see any reason to have them out on my son though, although I know I had mine out as a teenager and I don’t think I had problems. Is getting wisdom teeth out just a traditional rite of passage or is there a good reason for it?
Jody, Syracuse, UT
That’s a great question that many parents face. Although some parents may just see removing wisdom teeth as tradition, there are good reasons that many dentists recommend that you have them taken out in your youth.
The biggest reason for removing wisdom teeth as a teenager is that the older you get, the harder those teeth are to remove. The bone in the jaw becomes less pliable as you age. It becomes stiffer and more difficult to remove a tooth. When wisdom teeth are removed on a teenager, because of the pliability, the removal can take as little as five to ten minutes per tooth.
With increased difficulty in removing wisdom teeth in older people, the risk of complications also rise. After the age of about 20, the risks may double. Go five more years and the risks may double again. Five more years and the risks may be double again and so on. In many cases it’s just easier to get them out in a teen’s youth before they are impacted, meaning they aren’t able to break the surface because they are blocked by other teeth. When an impaction happens, it often leads to pain, infection and damage to other teeth.
Another reason it is recommended for teens to get their wisdom teeth out is simply because the roots on their wisdom teeth aren’t fully formed yet. As you age, the roots tend to become thicker. Because of this, the procedure is greatly simplified.
So although you may wonder why those wisdom teeth need to come out, it is often easier to take care of those teeth now while you can do it in an easier fashion and it’s when you choose, rather than wait until they have to come out and it is much more difficult and risky.
You may be interested in reading about CEREC crowns.
This post is sponsored by Enfield dentist Dr. William Cummiskey at Generations Dental Care.