Should You Keep Any Wisdom Teeth That Do Not Harm Your Mouth?
Posted on 10/19/2020 by Dr. Brandon Cooley
The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the back of the mouth. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, but those that do are at risk with complications from the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can fail to erupt, erupt partially, or erupt at an angle that puts pressure on neighboring teeth. Our team will remove wisdom teeth that threaten the oral health of our patients. However, when the wisdom teeth are not an immediate oral threat, the question as to whether to keep or extract the wisdom teeth is more complicated.
When It Is Acceptable to Keep Wisdom Teeth
In order for keeping the wisdom teeth to be the best option, four criteria must be met. First, the wisdom teeth must be healthy. There should be no signs of cavities or bacterial infections. Second, the wisdom teeth must be fully erupted. Partially-erupted wisdom teeth can attract harmful bacteria for infections and cavities. Third, the wisdom teeth must be positioned correctly. Crooked wisdom teeth can apply pressure to neighboring teeth, causing pressure, pain, and possibly tooth decay due to food trapped between the teeth. Finally, the wisdom teeth must be able to be properly cleaned by a standard oral health regimen – brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash.
Long-Term Risks of Keeping Wisdom Teeth
Due to their position in the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are more difficult to keep clean and healthy. If a patient grows lax in their oral health regimen, the wisdom teeth are the most likely teeth to develop cavities, tooth decay, and other problems. And if the wisdom teeth need to be extracted later in the patient's life, the extraction process will be more difficult due to the wisdom teeth being harder and stronger than they were in their pre-eruption state.
If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, call our office for a consultation and a dental exam.