When to Remove Wisdom Teeth & What to Expect

Illustration of an impacted wisdom teeth growing into a neighboring tooth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars to emerge in the back of the mouth. While they can be a valuable asset in some cases, they usually bring about various dental issues that require removal. Below, we will explain when it’s necessary to remove wisdom teeth and what you can expect during the process.

Why Wisdom Teeth Can Be a Problem

One to four wisdom teeth typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 26. Due to limited space at the back of the mouth, these latecomers often become impacted, meaning they cannot fully erupt. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, infection, and damage to adjacent teeth.

As they try to emerge, wisdom teeth may grow in crooked and bump into neighboring teeth. Pushing against other teeth can lead to tooth decay, infection, shifting, and overcrowding. These issues can be painful and pose a threat to your overall oral health.

When to Consider Wisdom Teeth Removal

Not all wisdom teeth require removal but there are some situations where it is often recommended, like:

  • Impaction – If dental X-rays reveal that your wisdom teeth are impacted or likely to become so, your dentist may recommend removal to prevent future issues.
  • Infection or Gum Disease – Wisdom teeth that cause recurrent infections or gum disease may need to be removed to preserve your oral health.
  • Orthodontic Treatment – If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and your wisdom teeth could interfere with the alignment of your teeth, removal may be recommended.

What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is performed with anesthesia. Most patients prefer stronger dental sedation than just local numbing, like IV sedation, so they don’t remember the procedure. During wisdom teeth removal, the surgeon will make an incision in the gums, remove the tooth, and suture the area closed.

After the procedure, you will experience some swelling and discomfort. Your symptoms can be managed with pain medication, rest, and ice packs. Eat only soft foods and drink plenty of water. Carefully follow your dental provider’s post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing.

Tooth Removal in Liberty, MO

While not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, it’s essential to monitor their development. Wisdom teeth removal can prevent future dental issues and promote positive overall oral health and well-being. Get in touch with our team at Seaport Family Dentistry to schedule a consultation to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.


Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0