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The wisdom of getting wisdom teeth pulled

Wisdom teeth removal can be a pretty fun experience. Seriously…fun, you say? Yep. You (or more likely, your teen!) get to be sedated and act all loopy while the family films and posts the videos on Facebook. And what could be more fun than (the embarrassment of) becoming an overnight social media sensation?

All kidding aside…if you think about wisdom teeth removal and only imagine the pain and the bill that comes with it, you’re probably wondering why it’s even necessary.

What’ll happen if you ignore the issue altogether?

Ah, wisdom teeth. They either hurt you, or… well, or they do nothing. But for most people, they hurt – which is usually reason enough for those people to get rid of them. But if the aches and pains don’t convince you to get your wisdom teeth removed, consider this:

The discomfort you feel isn’t only because you have a new tooth pushing through your tender gums. The majority of the time, wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to grow in the back of your mouth. This can lead to a variety of problems, including the following:

  • They’ll grow in all sorts of angles. They can even grow in horizontally! Improper tooth growth can cause the wisdom tooth to shuffle around and crowd nearby teeth, which can damage your already good teeth that you put so much time and effort into keeping healthy.
  • They’ll only partially grow out of your gums. Not only is a half-grown tooth in the back of your mouth hard to see and clean, but it can also become a breeding ground for bacteria. And while all those bacteria are having fun doing the Cupid Shuffle in your mouth, you could get stuck with cavities or gum disease.
  • They’ll be hidden in your gums entirely! If there isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth to erupt properly, they can become trapped in your jaw and under your gums. This can sometimes lead to an infection or a cyst growing in your mouth, which can damage the roots of your other teeth. Ouch!

What a wisdom tooth extraction will do for you

Not only will you finally be alleviated of that pain in the back of your mouth, but wisdom teeth removal can have other benefits to your oral health, too, including:

  • Prevents bacteria and infection
  • Prevents or corrects gum disease
  • Prevents or corrects tumors or cysts
  • Prevents or corrects jawbone, nerve, and/or adjacent tooth damage
  • Aligns the jaw and/or teeth correctly
  • Makes more space for other molar teeth

And not to mention that you’ll have an excuse to eat ice cream all day afterwards. Whoop, Whoop!

Do you need your wisdom teeth removed?

In the end, you decide whether you want your wisdom teeth removed. But your dentist will likely recommend wisdom teeth removal if you experience any of the following issues:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Gum disease
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Damage to nearby teeth

Of course, not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed if they are healthy, fully-erupted, positioned correctly, and can be cleaned sufficiently. However, not a lot of people are lucky enough to have properly grown wisdom teeth. And that’s okay!

Just don’t risk your (or your teen’s) oral health to avoid having a wisdom teeth removal procedure. And if you’re in doubt over whether you need the procedure or not, just talk to your dentist!

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