dentist operating wisdom teeth removal to a patient

When is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?

October 10, 2020

Wisdom teeth commonly appear between the ages of 17 and 21. They are not always functional and they can crowd the mouth and create problems for you in the future. 

It is recommended that an initial evaluation of the wisdom teeth is performed between the ages of 16 and 19 as the bones in the mouth become harder as you get older, making the removal of wisdom teeth more difficult.

Many dentists decide to remove wisdom teeth to avoid problems later on, even if the patient is not experiencing any of the common symptoms.

Common Causes for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Incorrect Growth

Sometimes wisdom teeth take up too much space in the mouth when they grow in. These wisdom teeth cannot be straightened out with braces. If the mouth is overcrowded, there are no procedures that can be done to make all the teeth fit together aside from removal of your wisdom teeth.

The best option in this situation is to have them removed. Your dentist will be able to determine which teeth may need to be removed. They could end up extracting all of them or only a few, depending on their placement. 

There are normally 28 teeth in the mouth before the wisdom teeth grow in. When the wisdom teeth grow in, there are a potential total of 32 teeth in the mouth. This can lead to pain and discomfort and it is often recommended to have your wisdom teeth removed to prevent or eliminate these symptoms.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Sometimes wisdom teeth are “impacted” and they do not have enough space to emerge from the gums and grow naturally. 

Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a variety of symptoms including:

  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling or stiffness in the jaw
  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Trouble opening mouth
  • Bad breath

In some situations impacted wisdom teeth may not show any symptoms. It is recommended to remove any impacted wisdom teeth to prevent future issues.


Wisdom teeth can cause aches and pains when they grow in. If you experience pain around your wisdom teeth area, contact your dentist for an exam or an x-ray. Your dentist will be able to determine if it is your wisdom teeth or other factors causing your pain.

Trouble Eating

If you experience pain while eating, you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed. It could be that food is getting stuck in between the gums and the tops of the teeth. This can cause problems when brushing cannot clean well enough in areas that are too tight to reach. It is best to check with your dentist if you are experiencing trouble eating due to your teeth.

Crooked Teeth

If your wisdom teeth do not grow in straight, they can make other teeth move and shift. Removing wisdom teeth can help prevent other teeth from getting damaged or crowded. 

It is believed that the jaw is not large enough to accommodate a 3rd molar which bumps against the others, causing it to grow in crooked or “sideways”. It is better to consider removing wisdom teeth before orthodontic treatment to allow more room for misalignments to shift.

Inflamed Gums

Sometimes when your wisdom teeth grow in, they create a flap of gum tissue that resides next to the tooth. This gum tissue can trap small particles of food and bacteria. The tissue can then become hard and inflamed, making it hard to clean and painful to touch. This condition is called pericoronitis, and it can also happen around wisdom teeth that are still underneath the gums.


The position of wisdom teeth can make it difficult to clean surfaces where bacteria can hide. If the gums become irritated, then pockets can develop between the teeth which will cause bacteria to grow. This can lead to cavities and infections.

The Extraction Procedure

The procedure to remove wisdom teeth is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Patients usually receive a local or general anesthetic.

Depending on how many teeth are removed and the severity of the case, the procedure can take from one to several hours.

It is best to avoid any aspirin and blood thinners prior to the surgery. There will also be aftercare that involves prescription medication for the pain and careful cleaning of the area to avoid infection or a “dry-socket”.

Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Consult your dentist to determine if you should have your wisdom teeth removed. Postponing critical dental care, especially in the case of wisdom teeth, can result in dangerous complications.

Carrie Muzny DDS and Associates offer the highest-quality dental services for our patients in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. Our highly acclaimed dentists are not only exceptionally trained in modern preventative techniques, but also have attained academic honors and continue to refine their craft year after year in preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, surgical procedures, and cosmetic dentistry

With our state-of-the-art technology and vast range of smile-perfecting procedures, we stay atop the field and deliver smiles as sunny as the state of Texas!

To let us help you get that perfect smile, contact us today. You can even request a virtual consultation!

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