Common Signs You Need to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed

Wisdom teeth x-ray

Why do we have wisdom teeth? Scholars believe that we have wisdom teeth as the evolutionary answer to eating raw meats, vegetables, and roots. These third set of molars grow in some people between the ages of 17 and 21, or the wisdom years. They are not always functional and can crowd the mouth or make problems for you in the future.

Wisdom Teeth Evaluation in Young Adults

Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 21. Initial evaluation of the wisdom teeth is recommended to be performed between the ages of 16 and 19.

As you get older, the bones in the mouth become harder, making them difficult to remove.

Some dentists decide to remove wisdom teeth to prevent problems later on, even if the patient is not experiencing and of the common symptoms.

Common Causes for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

In some cases, wisdom teeth are “impacted” and do not have enough space to emerge from the gums and develop normally.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause symptoms including:

  • Swollen, Tender or Bleeding Gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling or Stiffness in the Jaw
  • Bad Breath
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

In some cases impacted wisdom teeth may not show any symptoms, however, dentists and oral surgeons may recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth to prevent future issues.

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Incorrect Growth

In some cases when wisdom teeth grow in they take up too much space in the mouth. These teeth cannot be straightened out with braces. When the mouth is overcrowded, there is no procedure that can be done to make the teeth all fit together. The only option is to have them removed. A dentist can determine which teeth may need to be removed. They might have to extract all of them or only a few.

Before wisdom teeth grow in there are normally 28 teeth in the mouth. After the wisdom teeth grow in, there are 32 teeth. There might not be enough room in everyone’s mouths to fit the extra teeth which can lead to pain and discomfort.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction is recommended to prevent or eliminate common symptoms including:

Pain and Irritation

As wisdom teeth grow in they can cause aches and pains. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, contact your dentist for an exam and an x-ray. They can determine if the actual wisdom teeth or other factors are causing pain. Your Dentist will not always decide that extraction is the best solution. Over time, pain may correct itself and no extraction will be required.

Related: 10 Best Home Remedies to Reduce Wisdom Tooth Pain

Difficulty Eating

If you experience pain while eating, this might be a reason to have your wisdom teeth taken out. Food could be getting stuck in between the gums and the tops of the teeth. This could cause a lot of problems if you cannot get to the back of the mouth and clean well enough while brushing. Checking with a dentist to find the right products to fix this problem is the best way to handle it. If it can’t be resolved, an extraction might be the only choice.

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A Cyst Forms Around the Tooth

When a sac next to the teeth becomes filled with fluid, this is called a cyst. If it goes untreated, it can destroy bones, roots and surrounding structures. It becomes too severe, it can turn into a tumor and require additional surgery.

Teeth are Not Straight

If the wisdom teeth grow in crooked, they can make the other teeth shift and move over. They might even damage the other teeth. Extraction can prevent other teeth from having any damage. There are multiple theories of why wisdom teeth tend to grow out crooked and sideways. It has been said that our jaws are not large enough to accommodate a 3rd molar which then bumps against the others causing it to grow sideways. You should also consider removing wisdom teeth before orthodontic treatment to allow more room for misalignments to shift.

Sinus Issues

Wisdom teeth can cause a variety of sinus problems. These problems arise when teeth grow in on the upper jaw. When the teeth grow and roots develop, they can push and rub against the sinuses putting pressure on them. Even though this problem doesn’t happen frequently, wisdom teeth can sometimes lead to sinus pain, pressure, headaches, and congestions.


The position of the wisdom teeth can have a big impact on cleaning surfaces where bacteria can hide. If the gums become irritated, pockets can develop between the teeth and cause bacteria to grow. This will then promote the development of cavities leading to infection.

Inflamed Gums

Sometimes when wisdom teeth start sprouting out, it can create a flap of gum tissue that resides next to the tooth. This gum tissue can trap small particles of food and bacteria. Tissue around the teeth can become hard and inflamed, making it hard to clean. This is called pericoronitis, it can also occur around wisdom teeth that are still underneath your gums.

What Is Involved in the Extraction Procedure?

The wisdom tooth extraction procedure is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Patients usually have a local or general anesthetic. A general anesthetic will require someone to help you after the surgery. There are many sedation options for wisdom teeth extractions.

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

If you are having surgery, you might have to avoid blood thinners such as aspirin prior to the surgery. There will also be aftercare with prescription medication for the pain.

Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

Some people live with their wisdom teeth for their entire lives. It is not recommended to remove any teeth because there is the chance of the teeth shifting. If they are not causing you any problems, you should not worry about having them removed. If they have to be removed, you might have to have them removed two at a time (all of the top teeth or all of the bottom teeth), or you might have to get all of them removed at the same time. This option is what is recommended to keep you from having to make a second appointment.

Whatever the condition that your teeth are in, visiting your dentist regularly can prevent painful occurrences later on. Making sure that you maintain a healthy dental routine along with a healthy diet will keep your mouth healthy and pain-free. A regular routine of brushing, flossing and using a good mouthwash will keep your smile free from infection and pain. Most importantly, make sure that you follow the directions of your dentist.

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About the Author

Dentists in Las Vegas and Reno

Absolute Dental

Absolute Dental started in the Las Vegas valley with a single office and has been providing industry-leading dental care to our communities ever since.

Now at more than 30 offices across Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, and Carson City and growing, we remain committed to offering quality affordable dental care and patient education while providing a relaxing and comfortable experience for your entire family, from the young to the young at heart.

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