When Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?

Dec 12, 2023
When Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?
Are your wisdom teeth giving you some trouble? You might need to have them extracted. Read on to learn the signs to look out for and what you can do about it.

Getting a wisdom tooth or two pulled is almost a rite of passage for most people in their late teens or early 20s. Although it's a standard dental procedure, many don’t understand why wisdom teeth sometimes need removal. 

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, deep in the back of your mouth, and are the last to come in, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. For some, these teeth emerge without issue. It's not so smooth for others; they can become a nuisance or cause pain.

At OneSource Dental of South Tampa in Tampa, Florida, getting a wisdom tooth pulled out doesn’t have to be a literal pain. Nancy Horton, DMD, and our team treat our patients with the utmost care and expertise during tooth extractions. 

This blog explains why wisdom teeth can be problematic and helps you understand when they need removal. 

Why wisdom teeth cause problems

Most adults have 32 teeth, including four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. They're the last teeth to emerge, and your jaws may not always have enough room to accommodate these latecomers. 

When wisdom teeth don't have the space to come through properly, they may cause problems that require removal. They may grow sideways, emerge only partially, or remain trapped beneath your gum and bone. 

Signs you may need a wisdom tooth removal

You don't always have to remove your wisdom teeth as they emerge. However, if you observe any of the following signs, you might need an extraction:

Pain and irritation

Pain is the first sign that something isn't right with your wisdom teeth. When there's not enough room for them, they may push against other teeth or even the jawbone, causing significant discomfort.

Impaction and infection

Wisdom teeth that can't emerge are "impacted." They may grow at odd angles, only partially emerge, or stay hidden entirely within the gum. Impaction can lead to chronic pain and infection.

Oral health complications

Misaligned wisdom teeth can make brushing and flossing difficult, leading to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. They may also crowd or damage neighboring teeth.

Cysts and tumors

While rare, cysts and tumors can develop around impacted wisdom teeth. These can lead to more severe conditions, including jawbone erosion and damage to nearby teeth.

Chronic conditions

Over time, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to chronic oral health issues, such as persistent gum disease and long-term tooth decay, which can harm your overall dental health.

The right time for removal

Knowing when to have wisdom teeth removed often comes down to monitoring for certain signs. Consistent pain, repeated infection, cysts, tumors, damage to neighboring teeth, gum disease, and extensive tooth decay are all red flags. If any of these conditions arise, it's time to consult with Dr. Horton.

Coming in for regular check-ups and x-rays will also help us identify potential problems that may lead to future complications.

What to expect from the procedure 

The procedure can vary from simple to complex, depending on the angle and position of your wisdom teeth. A straightforward extraction is possible if your tooth has erupted through the gum.

Impacted wisdom teeth require surgery. We make incisions in your gum during the procedure to access the tooth.

Post-operative care is critical to a good recovery. You're typically required to rest for the rest of the day, avoid strenuous activity for a short period, and stick to soft foods. 

Discomfort, swelling, and some bleeding are expected immediately after the procedure, but these symptoms should lessen in the following days. 

If wisdom teeth concern you, trust OneSource Dental of South Tampa to handle it easily. Contact us today by calling 813-879-9299 or booking an appointment online.