Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

wisdom teeth

The teeth are quite interesting. When we are born, we don’t have any visible teeth on the surface of our gums (nor do we need them at this point in time). However, as we get a little older, our first tooth emerges, which will soon aid our eating and talking. Next thing you know, we eventually have a full set of primary teeth. But then years later, those teeth become loose. They loosen more and more until they fall out. Then, later, a secondary set of teeth take place of the primary teeth, which we will keep for the rest of our lives if all goes smoothly. As one reaches the age of 17 to 25, however, they often experience another set of teeth emerging: their wisdom teeth. Once these teeth start to come in, the child or the parent might wonder if wisdom teeth need to be removed or if they’re something the child can end up keeping. Let’s discuss more on the topic together.

Reasons Dentists Recommend Removing Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth require extraction for different reasons.

One of the most common reasons wisdom need require extraction is due to the fact that they are impacted. If they are impacted, this means that the wisdom teeth are growing in at an incorrect angle and, thus, they fail to correctly develop or only partially emerge through the gums. There are four types of impacted wisdom teeth: angular, partial eruption, horizontal, and vertical.

These types of wisdom teeth can cause gum swelling and redness, pain, trouble opening the mouth, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. These problematic wisdom teeth can eventually lead to the development of oral cysts of infections. At the very least, many people have jaws that are too small to accommodate wisdom teeth from the start, making it important to get them out regardless.

Other reasons for removing wisdom teeth include:

  • Infection around the wisdom tooth or teeth
  • The need for orthodontic treatment (Sometimes orthodontists will recommend wisdom teeth surgery sooner if, say, your child is getting braces.)
  • Difficulty properly cleaning the teeth due to the wisdom teeth
  • The development of an oral cyst or tumor
  • A serious case of tooth decay
  • General pain and irritation (even if the wisdom teeth are not impacted)
  • Trouble eating or speaking
  • Gum disease
  • Recurring oral infection
  • Sinus problems

In the end, while there are different explanations for the need for wisdom tooth removal, one thing is for sure: wisdom teeth surgery takes place shortly when they begin to cause problems. These problems will not get better or go away with time. If anything, they will gradually get worse.

Do All Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Most wisdom teeth need to be removed at some point in time. Some people have to have say goodbye to their wisdom teeth while they’re still in high school. Others might not experience problems with their wisdom teeth until they’re in their early to mid-twenties. Thus, they might not opt to get wisdom teeth surgery until they are a little older. Some folks even wait until they’re in their thirties before considering getting wisdom tooth removal surgery.

Something interesting, though, is that not all wisdom teeth necessarily require surgery. Some lucky folks are able to keep their wisdom teeth or at least one or some of them. This is only true if the wisdom teeth have fully developed and don’t pose any pain, discomfort, problems eating or talking, or cause any harm to their oral health. Some people may actually need and benefit from keeping their wisdom teeth if, say, if they have missing teeth and have plenty of room available for these teeth to thrive.

However, don’t get too excited; 85% of people end up needing to have wisdom teeth surgery at some point in time. So, be prepared for your child to eventually receive extraction at some point. In truth, extraction can be for the better in many cases. And it is better to have surgery sooner than later in a majority of instances.

When Will My Child Need Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Generally, the wisdom teeth can stay until they begin to cause problems. For some people, these teeth can pose problems within a short period of time from when they begin to erupt. Often, your child will know when it’s time to have those suckers removed just by the pain, discomfort, and general inconvenience that they’ve been experiencing due to this new set of teeth.

However, it is up to a dental professional to make the final decision of if and when wisdom teeth surgery will take place. After all, every individual varies. Normally, though, it’s a general recommendation for wisdom teeth extractions to take place sometime between the ages of 18 to one’s early 20s.

You know the approximate timeframe of getting wisdom teeth taken out. But is it ever “too late” to get surgery for these molars? The answer is a general no. Often, the wisdom teeth need to be removed as soon as possible, though, technically can at any time but preferably before one reaches their elder years. This is because there are higher complications associated with surgery and dental anesthesia in the elder population. Not to mention, over the course of time, the wisdom teeth are likely to cause more pain, swelling, and other issues that would make one want to get wisdom teeth surgery as soon as possible.

The Dentist Says My Child Won’t Get Wisdom Teeth. What Does This Mean?

While most people develop wisdom teeth at some point, not everyone does. In fact, about 35% of people never get their third molars, also known as their wisdom teeth. The reason for this? Some people have their own theories and beliefs (e.g., environment, diet, etc.) for why this could be. Specifically, some people believe evolution has something to do with the wisdom teeth. However, what we do know, though, is that whether or not a child gets wisdom teeth all comes down to genetics (and genetics can get very tricky and complex, so we’ll save you a headache from getting into it).

Is it Bad to Never Have Wisdom Teeth?

So, a small portion of people never actually get wisdom teeth. Interesting, isn’t it? Is it harmful, however, if your child never develops wisdom teeth? The answer is no. They’re just something that develop in some people and don’t develop in other people. If anything, it’s more harmful having impacted wisdom teeth than never developing wisdom teeth at all. So, if you or your child never get them, then consider it lucky.

One benefit of never developing wisdom teeth is not having to go through surgery if they begin to cause problems. This can save a teen or young adult from unnecessary pain, trips to the dentist, swelling and eating problems for a while after surgery, and of course, money. (Although, many people look forward to seeing how they or their child reacts after coming off laughing gas!)

In the end, it isn’t the end of the world if your child develops, or even never develops, wisdom teeth. If they do appear, wisdom teeth might require surgery, ideally within a certain frame of time for the best results and the fewest complications possible. The good news is, wisdom teeth can’t grow back, so once surgery happens, your child is good to go! And if they don’t ever develop, then, well, it’s one less stress for a child and their parents to worry about.