Aside from telling you to brush and floss twice a day, your dentist has probably also told you that you’d be smart to have your wisdom teeth removed.
But great minds do not all think alike on the question: To yank or not to yank?
Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that sprout in the back of your mouth when you are in your late teens–presumably when you are “wiser.” When they grow in and align with the rest of your choppers, you’re fine. But often they can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, or never fully emerge and become impacted. And that can be a pain to deal with.
According to Dr. Boyd Tomasetti, acting director of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), wisdom teeth have no known use in the mouth. “It’s a generally held belief that [they] are a potential source of problems,” he says. These problems can include
* Tooth decay.
* Cysts (which can destroy surrounding bone, tooth, and tissue).
Wisdom teeth are out of sight and out of mind for many people, though. Many don’t notice their wisdom teeth at all until there is some swelling in the back of the mouth or an ache in the jaw. At that point, complications are already a possibility.
“Removal at older ages brings about higher risk and the potential for more complications,” says Dr. William G. Flick, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois. And in this case, older isn’t 60-plus, but somewhere in your mid-20s, when the roots of your wisdom teeth begin to develop and take hold, making removal more difficult.
Article By: Kimberly Nelson, Medical Writer