Do All Wisdom Teeth Need to Come Out?

Often called the third molars, your wisdom teeth are the last ones to show up in your adult mouth and usually come on the scene when you’re between the ages of 17-25 — that’s if they show up at all. Some stay hidden beneath your gums. 

Whether they emerge or not, the question is: Do you keep them or pull them? 

To settle the debate, our expert team of dental professionals, including Dr. Ken Lalezarian here at Dental Care of Beverly Hills, outlines all the facts about wisdom teeth so you can understand what’s going on back there at the end of the tooth line and make an informed decision about wisdom tooth extraction.

Why the controversy?

Just as in all fields of science, dentistry has evolved through research and technological advancements. The prevailing wisdom about what to do with wisdom teeth has bumped along this path over the years, shifting from the “leave them in” camp to the “pull them out camp” to the “it depends” camp. 

Reasons for removal range from overcrowding to potential infection, and support for leaving them in includes avoiding unnecessary surgery and waiting until a problem arises rather than removing teeth preemptively.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, wisdom tooth extractions remain prevalent in the United States, with more than 10 million procedures performed every year.

The truth is, there are times when your wisdom teeth should be pulled and times when it’s okay to leave them in. 

When to leave your wisdom teeth alone

If your third molars never pop through your gums, or if you have them removed, you’ll never miss them. Much like your appendix, they don’t serve much purpose, and life will go on as normal whether you have them or not.

That said, if there’s nothing wrong with them and they are causing no problems, there’s no reason to have them surgically removed, which comes with its own risks, pain, and recovery time.

Dr. Lalezarian recommends keeping your wisdom teeth if they:

Many times, even if your wisdom teeth appear to be growing in at an angle, they may not cause alignment problems with your other teeth, especially your lower teeth. That’s because the roots of the wisdom teeth are relatively weak, and they’re anchored in very soft tissue, so they don’t have enough force to shift your other teeth. 

Dr. Lalezarian carefully examines your wisdom teeth in light of your age, your health, the status of your jaw and other teeth, and your X-rays to make an expert recommendation.

When to have your wisdom teeth extracted

You don’t want to have your teeth pulled, and we don’t want to put you through an unwarranted procedure, so we’re on the same team. But there are some circumstances that make an extraction necessary, such as:

If it becomes clear that your wisdom teeth need to come out, it may be less traumatic to have it done at an earlier age. During adolescence, the roots and bones aren’t fully formed yet, which makes extractions easier and recovery faster. 

Many variables are involved in the decision to have your wisdom teeth removed, and we don’t make our recommendations lightly. We make sure you understand all your options and the potential risks and benefits of all scenarios. 

If you or your child have third molars that need attention, call us for an appointment with Dr. Lalezarian or book one online, and find out what to do with your wisdom teeth. 

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