Do you really have to remove wisdom teeth?

My teenage son has been in braces since the first of last year and is almost ready to get them off.  At his recent dentist appointment, the dentist noticed on his xrays that his wisdom teeth are back there and recommended having them taken out before too long. I didn’t see any problem with the wisdom teeth. Why does my son have to have them taken out?

Joe from Cleveland

Dear Joe,

Many teens get their wisdom teeth out and most parents don’t think twice about why. There are many positive reasons why it is recommended to have them removed in your youth.

Why wisdom teeth are often removed in your youth

Your son’ dentist may have been concerned about seeing his wisdom teeth because of his braces. Sometimes wisdom teeth, as they grow, can come in sideways. If this happens, they can push on the teeth nearby, causing them to move. The dentist probably doesn’t want to risk any movement of your son’s teeth after all the money and effort of braces.

The simplest reason to have wisdom teeth removed when you are young is because it’s easier than when you are older. As you age, your jawbone becomes firmer and less pliable. When the jawbone is firmer, it is harder to remove the wisdom teeth and it takes a longer time. If those teeth are removed in the teenage years, because the bone isn’t as stiff, it is a quick process to remove them.

Because it is more difficult to remove wisdom teeth when you are older, it also leads to more complications. The risks involved in removing wisdom teeth rise exponentially as you get older. Especially if wisdom teeth become impacted, it can cause pain or infection. Impacted means blocked by other teeth so they can’t break the surface.

It may not seem like a big deal to wait to get your son’s wisdom teeth removed, but you may find it will save a lot of trouble by having them taken care of when he is younger.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Ryan Perry in Baton Rouge, LA.

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