You may have noticed a throbbing ache in the gums behind your molars recently. Or you run your tongue over your back teeth and notice something that wasn’t there before. Wisdom teeth are a rite of passage that no one looks forward to.
Is it worth getting them out? Most dentists say “yes,” especially to young adults, because they’re less at risk for surgery complications and the recovery is fairly quick. However, it’s never too late to get them removed if you’re seeing trouble now.
1. It’s Affecting Your Other Teeth
Are you noticing that your teeth are starting to crowd in ways you’ve never experienced? Feeling pain in your molars near the wisdom teeth? It’s not unusual for your newest adult additions to make way by pushing your other teeth out of the way. If you let it go too long, you might need braces to re-align your teeth, and that’s something you’d probably like to avoid.
2. You’re Getting More Cavities in The Same Places
Wisdom teeth often go uncleaned because we simply forget they’re there. Brushing your teeth in a rush isn’t a good idea, but we naturally give the front ones more attention (ever notice you tend to get more cavities in the back of your mouth?). You can give yourself one, or four, less things to worry about by extracting them.
3. They’re Impacted
It isn’t unusual for wisdom teeth to come in at awkward angles, struggling to make their way into your mouth. This can damage the way that you eat, smile, and even talk. Teeth like these have no hope for recovery; it’s better to get them removed sooner than later before they turn into a major problem.
4. There’s Not Enough Room
In prehistoric times, humans used to have larger mouths to help chew bigger amounts of food. As we evolved and became more civilized, we didn’t need all that room anymore. Wisdom teeth still haven’t gotten the memo though, as they try to sneak in through the back.
5. You’re Noticing Cysts
This is a less common but more serious problem that results from impacted teeth. When a wisdom tooth grows in a fluid-filled sac within the jawbone, it can cause a tumor at worst and a lot of pain at best. It’s another instance of “the sooner it’s gone, the better.”
Even if you don’t experience these problems yet, it’s best to get an x-ray from your dentist. He’ll be able to see if the teeth have the potential to cause issues later. If you get them out before they’ve had time to settle, you’ll recover faster and suffer less complications from surgery.
If your dentist says your new additions are completely grown in and positioned correctly (that is, biting down properly with their opposite teeth), you can probably keep them. Make sure to remember to start brushing a little further back now just in case.