Painful wisdom teeth are a common symptom that often leads to removal. But if your wisdom teeth are not painful, should you keep them or have them removed? Explore reasons for getting your wisdom teeth checked even if you have no symptoms.
Should You Have Pain-Free Wisdom Teeth Removed?
You should have pain-free wisdom teeth removed if an examination and x-ray show that keeping the teeth puts your long-term oral health at risk. But, if your wisdom teeth have erupted entirely in the correct position and your bone, gums, and teeth around them are healthy, they probably do not require removal. Still, if you do not feel pain, why should you get your wisdom teeth checked? And why might an oral surgeon recommend wisdom teeth removal?
Reasons for Removing Wisdom Teeth That Are Not Painful
The location and condition of your wisdom teeth may be a reason for removing them, even if they are pain free. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Also, an Atlas of the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics article on the nature of third molars, or wisdom teeth, notes that compared with other teeth, wisdom teeth have these issues:
- Less functionality
- Less likely to erupt and contribute toward chewing and grinding food
- Greater frequency and severity of disease
Whether your wisdom teeth are partially or fully impacted, they can create issues that you cannot see or feel.
You can see a portion of a partially impacted wisdom tooth’s crown above the gumline. Partially impacted teeth present these issues:
- Difficult to clean – It is challenging to brush and floss a tooth when you can only reach part of it.
- Impossible to reach – A tooth angled backward can be too far back to keep clean.
- Push other teeth – A tooth that leans forward can put pressure on the tooth in front of it and cause misalignment.
Partially impacted wisdom teeth can breed bacteria and eventually lead to cavities or gum disease.
Fully impacted wisdom teeth do not emerge above your gumline. They can grow on their sides or at an angle beneath your gums or entirely in your jawbone.
Issues that result from fully impacted teeth include:
- Harm to other teeth – Their position can move other teeth out of alignment.
- Develop cysts or tumors – A pus-fill sac can form around the tooth. It can affect other teeth, your jawbone, nerves, and surrounding tissue as it grows.
After taking x-rays, your oral surgeon can determine whether fully impacted wisdom teeth may damage your oral health.
When Should You Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The best time for removing wisdom teeth is before they fully develop. As we age, tooth roots grow longer, get embedded in the jawbone, and may get entangled with nerves. Fewer complications occur with early removal of wisdom teeth. Still, regardless of your age, removing impacted wisdom teeth protects your oral health.
Request a Wisdom Teeth Evaluation
Without an examination and x-rays, you cannot be sure that your wisdom teeth are okay—even if they are pain free. In Oklahoma City, one of our highly experienced surgeons at OKC-OMS can evaluate your teeth and determine if you will benefit from wisdom teeth removal. Contact us to request a wisdom teeth evaluation. Or, use the AAOMS website to find a surgeon near you.