Medically reviewed by: Maher Jandali DMD, MD

Female Model for Wisdom TeethWisdom teeth are a marvel of human evolution — until they are impacted or do not fit properly into your mouth. In these cases, they can be quite a headache, sometimes even literally.

Fortunately, wisdom tooth removal is a fairly simple procedure that has a brief recovery period and requires very little discomfort. Still, you likely do not want to undergo a removal procedure if your wisdom teeth are not currently causing discomfort.

However, even if you do not believe your wisdom teeth are causing you any issues, there are several reasons why you may want to consider wisdom tooth removal.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the late bloomers of your permanent teeth. While your other permanent teeth generally emerge by the age of 6 or 7, your wisdom teeth will not come in until somewhere between the ages of 17 and 25. These molars will emerge in the very backs of each row of teeth, sometimes without any issues, and sometimes with many.

What Can Go Wrong with Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

It is a fairly common occurrence that wisdom teeth do not emerge properly and become stuck underneath your gum line. This is known as an “impacted” wisdom tooth. Often, the awkward angle at which an impacted wisdom tooth grows results in several issues.

They Can Cause Discomfort

There are various ways in which an impacted wisdom tooth can cause discomfort. For example, it may press into other teeth, irritating the gum tissues or causing a chain reaction leading to jaw discomfort and even headaches.

They Can Be More Susceptible to Tooth Decay

An impacted wisdom tooth can be difficult to keep clean as there may be various folds and pockets of gum surrounding it that are prone to catching food debris and bacteria. Even if you have a rigorous oral hygiene routine, you may still end up with tooth decay.

They Can Increase the Risk of Infection

For the same reasons that an impacted wisdom tooth is more susceptible to decay, it can also be vulnerable to infection. One of the most common among them is pericoronitis, an inflammation of the gum tissue that can cause discomfort, bad breath, difficulty biting and chewing, facial swelling, and even fevers.

Another infection that can result from impacted wisdom teeth is periodontitis, also known as gum disease. Gum disease left untreated can result in a variety of issues with your oral and even your overall health.

They Can Cause Overcrowding in the Mouth

Sometimes a wisdom tooth can come in relatively straight, or maybe even perfectly straight, but you simply do not have the room in your mouth to fit it.

When this happens, the wisdom tooth can begin to force the other teeth forward in order to make room for itself. The result can be overcrowding of the teeth, which can open you up to misalignment and a greater risk of tooth decay.

The Advantages of Removing Wisdom Teeth Now

Your wisdom teeth may not be bothering you now, but there is no guarantee that issues will not arise at some point in the future. Even if you are averse to dental procedures, there are more than a few reasons why you should strongly consider removal sooner rather than later.

The Younger You Do It, the Easier It Is

Your body is better at healing at a younger age than at an older one. Even a simple procedure such as wisdom tooth removal is likely to be harder on you if you choose to do it 10 or 20 years down the line than if you were to do it now before any issues have arisen.

You Can Avoid Potential Issues

Just because you are not experiencing any of the issues that can come from impacted wisdom teeth now does not guarantee that you will not experience them at any point in your life. If you wait until you are feeling significant discomfort, tooth decay, or overcrowded teeth, then you may require even more dental procedures later.

If you would like to learn more about wisdom tooth removal and other dental procedures in Illinois, check out Oral and Facial Surgery of Naperville’s blog page.