It is commonly thought that having your wisdom teeth removed by an oral surgeon is done in order to prevent crowding of your teeth. While that is one reason and possible benefit of having them removed that is not the only reason wisdom teeth removal should be considered. If wisdom teeth partially come in and stop, an infection may develop. If wisdom teeth do fully come in and they are very close to the second molars, periodontal disease is a possibility due to the difficulty in brushing and flossing the teeth well.
As with all dental and orthodontic treatment plans there is not a single one size fits all approach. That is why it is important to have your wisdom teeth evaluated by your orthodontist and an oral surgeon. Dr. Reagin assesses the placement and growth of your wisdom teeth, before and during your orthodontic treatment. He evaluates how your wisdom teeth may impact your teeth alignment and bite. Evaluation is done through an oral exam and a series of x-rays to determine the teeth’s current location and growth pattern.
Evaluation of wisdom teeth is not a one time event, it is something that will need to be done regularly as long as you have them. The position of the teeth and direction of growth often changes as you age, so what is true when you are 15 may not be the same when you are 18 or 30.
In the majority of cases wisdom teeth removal is recommend prior to the age of 24 due to the positives outweighing the negatives. Typically removal is done between 17 and 20. Bone density increases and roots are fully established after the age of 24, making the surgery have more risks associated with it. Waiting until you are over the age of 24 often doubles your recovery time and potential complications, such as nerve damage, sinus exposure, infection and jaw fracture are much more likely. In healthy patients between 17 and 24 there are few complications and the recovery is minimal.
It is highly likely that if Dr. Reagin or an oral surgeon sees the potential for a future problem removal my be recommended, even if there isn’t a problem now. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, ask Dr. Reagin at your next visit!