Wisdom Teeth: Is it Wise to Wait?
Most dental professionals recommend having third molars, or wisdom teeth, removed in early adulthood, preferably before they are fully formed and rooted into the jaw. Generally, this means having wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 17 and 25. Waiting until you are older to have wisdom teeth removed can have considerable risks and complications.
Wisdom teeth that are not removed create the following risks:
- Impaction caused by wisdom teeth that do not have sufficient room to grow, causing pain and potential disease and damage to adjacent teeth.
- Tooth decay from wisdom teeth that are difficult to keep clean.
- Infection caused by bacteria that is harbored in the wisdom tooth eruption site.
- Growth of tumors and cysts caused by severely impacted wisdom teeth.
For patients who need to have wisdom teeth removed later in life, complications can include:
- More complicated removal surgery to eliminate deeply rooted or impacted wisdom teeth that results in longer surgery recovery time.
- Roots that have grown close to the nerve that affects the feeling in the lower lip might be injured in surgery, causing permanent nerve damage.
If you or your young adult have emerging wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if and when they should be removed. While some patients will not need to have their third molars extracted, in most cases, having wisdom teeth removed as they are erupting can help to avoid a host of future problems. When wisdom tooth extraction is performed early, recovery time and risk of complications are drastically reduced for most patients.
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