Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Taken out? Five Factors to Consider

There's often controversy surrounding whether wisdom teeth are really necessary and if they should be taken out or kept. Traditionally, patients and dentists gravitate toward taking the wisdom teeth out. However, there are some factors to consider when faced with a decision to keep or remove wisdom teeth…

1. Your wisdom teeth might need to be removed if they cause alignment issues in your bite.

For example, if you have a wisdom tooth that grew to protrude up and beyond the rest of your teeth, you may have difficulties eating, risk enamel erosion, and loosening of the other teeth due to incorrect contact of the upper and lower jaws.

2. If your wisdom tooth is protruding into your cheek and is causing pain.

It might be a good idea to consider removing the protruding wisdom tooth, especially if your other teeth are fine and need no alignment. It typically wouldn’t make sense to get orthodontic work just for the sake of the wisdom tooth.

3. If your wisdom tooth recently started erupting and is growing in such a way that it is forcing some of your other teeth to shift.

You should probably remove the wisdom tooth because it will otherwise cause your other teeth to shift into a crooked position, potentially requiring braces to align back into place later.

4. If you need orthodontic alignment via braces or any other method and your dentist needs room to shift your teeth around.

The dentist may recommend removal of the wisdom teeth to allow room for the other teeth to shift into place.

5. Hygiene

The other big consideration in whether to keep or remove the wisdom teeth has to do with proper daily oral care and the ability to maintain oral hygiene with everyday flossing and brushing. Often times, due to the inconvenient position of the wisdom teeth in the mouth, people have a tough time reaching them with the toothbrush or floss, causing the buildup of plaque and bacteria around the wisdom teeth which is hard to clean out. This buildup of plaque and bacteria, since it is left to linger for extended periods of time ends up causing damage to the wisdom teeth along with the adjacent teeth. Plaque buildup harbors microorganisms and bacteria which erode the teeth and cause cavities to form. So the deciding factor becomes if you cannot properly brush or floss around your wisdom teeth, the recommended course of action is to have them removed.

Keeping your wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth are pretty straight, and you’re able to properly brush and floss around them using the ample choices of flossing methods available, then you can leave your wisdom teeth intact. Make sure that you are following a diligent day-to-day oral health regimen so that you don’t allow for damage that comes with plaque and bacteria forming around the wisdom teeth to occur. Floss, brush and rinse twice a day making sure to get all the food debris and plaque out of the crevices around the wisdom teeth. Additionally stay way from sugary and acidic drinks to protect your enamel from erosion. When brushing your teeth, make sure to angle the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and brush in a circular motion getting any buildup brushed off the gum line. If you are unable to reach far enough to brush in that manner around the wisdom teeth, then you might need to consider having them removed. Weigh out all of the above factors and discuss with your dentist on the best course of action for you.