What are the Pros and Cons of Removing Wisdom Teeth?

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
Wisdom teeth removal
As wisdom teeth erupt at the very back of your mouth, you might not be able to clean them properly.

Wisdom teeth emerge between the ages of 17 to 21. They erupt at the back of the mouth and complete our standard set of 32 teeth. In modern times, however, jaw sizes have shrunk, leaving no space for wisdom teeth. What’s more, advances in agricultural technology and food habits have reduced the need to chew with wisdom teeth.

As they are difficult to maintain and may even damage adjacent teeth (a common complication), most dentists and surgeons suggest extracting them at the patient’s earliest convenience. There are many benefits and a few drawbacks of wisdom tooth removal to consider before you decide either way.

Why Do Dentists Suggest Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth can negatively affect oral health. Not only can they be painful, but they can also make it hard to chew and smile. Below are some reasons that dentists give for wisdom teeth removal.

Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Oral Infections

If your wisdom teeth do not erupt fully from the gums, they are called impacted or partially impacted teeth. They often erupt at a different angle than your other teeth, and their roots can push into another tooth. Or, they may erupt and stick out halfway.

These teeth create holes or spaces that can trap food particles, leading to oral infections. An infected mouth will feel uncomfortable and develop a bad odor. You might even have inflamed gums if you do not treat the issue promptly.

Wisdom Teeth Are Difficult To Clean

As wisdom teeth erupt at the very back of your mouth, you might not be able to clean them properly. Teeth need daily brushing, flossing, and cleaning. However, oral care can be challenging if your mouth has developed inflammation and infection from impacted wisdom teeth.

The accumulated debris can lead to bacterial infections that spread to neighboring teeth and cause cavities and other issues, like gum disease.

Your Mouth Might Not Have Enough Space For Your Wisdom Teeth

Thanks to evolution, the general size of the human mouth has decreased in size. As you grow up, your mouth might be unable to accommodate more teeth.

Because of the lack of space, these adult molars usually cause other teeth to shift closer to each other. This can misalign your teeth, making them hard to brush and clean.

Impacted third molars (wisdom teeth) might also lead to small cyst formations and tumors within the jawbone. These are highly uncomfortable and there are also risks of developing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

You Can Experience Pain And Structural Issues From Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Not only do your teeth shift when the third molars emerge, but you may also experience pain from impacted wisdom teeth, such as headaches, jaw pain, and facial discomfort.

The shifting causes an imbalance in the structure of the teeth putting stress on the healthy teeth that can gradually weaken the teeth, causing fractures and cracks that harbor harmful bacteria.

For many, wisdom teeth erupt after orthodontic tooth alignments. They can misalign the newly-aligned tooth structure and ruin years of improvement from wearing braces and aligners, such as Invisalign Miami.

Invisalign in Miami is a great option for those who need orthodontic treatment but aren’t interested in traditional metal braces. The process involves aligning teeth through computer-generated invisible brackets and wires.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Prevents Systemic Infection

Impacted wisdom teeth can be the root cause of many whole-body infections. Systemic infections affect various organs which then need extensive treatments. Wisdom teeth can cause localized infections and you may wind up swallowing the bacteria, spreading it throughout your body.

Partially or fully impacted wisdom tooth infection in the jawbone can also cause a loss of bone density. If it reaches the bloodstream, it can lead to systemic infections in the lungs, kidneys, and other organs. The harmful bacteria also cause a rise in arterial plaque.

To steer clear of these potentially dangerous health issues, dental specialists recommend wisdom teeth removal as soon as possible.

Analyzing the Pros And Cons Of Wisdom Teeth Removal

If your wisdom teeth have not yet erupted or have come in without trouble, you might wonder if you really need wisdom teeth removal surgery. Consulting with a dentist to discuss the pros and cons of wisdom teeth extraction is the best course of action in these cases. The pros of wisdom teeth removal may include the following:

Illustration of how wisdom tooth issues can cause tooth decay, increase the risk of infection (which leads to bad breath), tooth abscess, and nerve damage on nearby teeth.
3D render of jaw x-ray with wisdom mesial impaction. Concept of different types of wisdom teeth problems.

Reduces Potential Risks from Impacted Teeth

A risk from impacted teeth is pain from misalignment. If your wisdom tooth sprouted against another tooth or stopped halfway, it can be painful. They may not completely break through the gums and leave areas where food particles, plaque, and bacteria can get stuck.

These spaces harbor infections that can lead to inflammation, pain, and various other oral health problems. Impacted wisdom teeth are susceptible to cavities, as you might not be able to clean them properly.

One of the advantages of wisdom teeth removal is that it lowers these potential risks and can help you feel more comfortable in the long run. It can also help to prevent gum problems as you age.

Lowers Risk of Teeth Crowding

Because wisdom teeth have a 44% chance of emerging at an angle, they may push into neighboring teeth. This usually results in teeth crowding, with the roots of the impacted teeth possibly pushing into neighboring teeth.

If these semi-impacted or impacted wisdom teeth cause crowding, the patient might need orthodontic treatment.

No Impacted Teeth Means No Pain

Impacted teeth can be painful. They often stop sprouting halfway and can cause severe gum pain. They can also make it hard to chew, talk, and smile. The pain can cause headaches and a stiffening feeling inside the jaw.

A precautionary wisdom teeth removal surgery can prevent discomfort from impacted teeth.

The Surgery Is Less Complicated for Younger Patients

Wisdom teeth erupt during young adulthood, and they are easy to surgically extract when you are 18-21 years old. The surgery takes less time and is safer at this age. There are lower chances of post-surgical complications occurring in younger patients.

Cons of Wisdom Teeth Removal:

Sometimes, the Extraction Is Unnecessary

Because wisdom teeth can come in normally for some people, extraction may be unnecessary. However, this is rare. Only a dentist can make an individual recommendation for a patient.

Complications Can Occur

Some people do experience post-surgery complications. If you use tobacco and are over the age of 25, the surgery can cause infections and other oral issues. As it is a surgical procedure, there can be some post-operative problems such as bleeding or dry socket.

Dry socket is a medical side-effect of smoking, spitting, and drinking through straws after wisdom teeth removal surgery. It occurs when blood clots at the extraction site fall out before they should or fail to form altogether. This leaves the area vulnerable to bacteria and food particles, leading to horrible pain. The good news is that it takes only a few days for the pain to recede.

A Surgical Procedure Is Involved

If you have ever experienced anesthesia complications, it can be risky to undergo teeth removal surgery.

Anesthesia is the first stage of any surgical procedure, and it is important to disclose your medical history to your surgeon beforehand. An allergic reaction might result in more complications.

All in all, being careful and asking a medical specialist about your dental health can help you understand your candidacy for a wisdom tooth removal.

Advanced Wisdom Teeth Removal Options

Nowadays, wisdom teeth removal is a routine procedure. Consult a dental professional to learn how to move forward with the surgery. They can assess and evaluate your dental conditions and extract fully-formed wisdom teeth like any other regular teeth.

IV sedation is an effective option for patients with fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth. Surgeons usually remove impacted wisdom teeth in small sections to lessen disturbances in the jawbone.

Sedation or Anesthesia Used in Wisdom Teeth Removal

IV sedation and anesthesia are available for patients undergoing wisdom teeth removal to ensure a comfortable and pain-free experience. This can be especially beneficial for patients with dental anxiety or those with fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth.

Laser-Assisted Wisdom Teeth Removal

Laser technology can be used to assist in the removal of wisdom teeth, resulting in less trauma to the surrounding tissue and a faster healing process.

CT Scans Used to Examine Impacted Teeth Prior to Extraction

Advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans, can provide a detailed view of the impacted wisdom teeth and their relationship to the surrounding structures. This allows for a more accurate and precise extraction, reducing the risk of complications.

Advanced Imaging Techniques Aid in Complex Extractions

In cases where wisdom teeth are deeply impacted or have complex root structures, advanced imaging techniques can be used to guide the extraction process and avoid damage to the surrounding bone and tissue.

Digital X-Ray Technology Improves Precision of Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Digital X-ray technology allows for more accurate and detailed images of the impacted wisdom teeth and their surrounding structures. This can help the dentist plan the extraction more precisely and reduce the risk of complications during the surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wisdom Teeth Removal

In this section, we will address some common questions and concerns related to wisdom teeth removal.

Is wisdom teeth removal a safe surgery?

Wisdom teeth removal is a common and generally safe surgical procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. It is crucial to consult with a qualified dental professional to assess your individual situation and ensure the procedure is performed safely and effectively ensuring a smooth recovery period.

Are wisdom teeth really a problem?

Not all wisdom teeth cause problems. However, when they do, they can lead to pain, infection, and damage to surrounding teeth and structures. It is essential to monitor the development and position of wisdom teeth through regular dental checkups and consult with a dentist if any issues arise.

Why do experts suggest leaving wisdom teeth in place, citing reasons for not removing them?

There might be good reasons for leaving the wisdom teeth in place. Some wisdom teeth do not cause any issues and can remain in the mouth without causing problems. However, it is essential to consult with a dentist to determine if extraction is necessary for your specific situation.

Does removing wisdom teeth change face shape?

Removing wisdom teeth typically does not cause significant changes to the face shape. However, some patients may experience temporary swelling or bruising after the surgery, which can alter the appearance of the face temporarily.

How painful is a wisdom tooth extraction?

The level of pain experienced during and after wisdom tooth extraction varies from person to person. Dentists use anesthesia and, in some cases, sedation to minimize pain during the procedure. After the oral surgery, patients may experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising, which can be managed with pain medication and following post-operative care instructions.

Book Your Wisdom Teeth Procedure In Miami Today

Understanding the benefits of a successful wisdom tooth removal surgery can help you weigh your need for one. If you are ready to secure your future oral health, book an appointment in Miami with Dr. John Paul Gallardo.

Dr. Gallardo has a stellar reputation as a Miami periodontist and emergency dentist. He also offers dental exams and cleanings and recommends customized options for your oral health. Call 305-447-1447 today to schedule your next visit.