When to extract wisdom teeth
When wisdom teeth grow nicely into place behind the second molars and are free of decay, there is no reason for removal.
Problems come when they are impacted, which means they are angled in the jaw. As they try to erupt, or emerge from the gum, they push against the tooth in front. This can damage this second molar.
If the impacted wisdom tooth partially erupts, it creates a tight spot that can be difficult to keep clean. This greatly increases the likelihood of decay in one or both teeth. Gingivitis is also associated with a partially erupted tooth because food is trapped between the tooth and soft tissue.
If the dentist is recommending extraction, a panoramic x-ray is required. This will determine the exact orientation of the tooth and its roots. This x-ray view also shows the tooth’s relationship to an important nerve in the jaw. Usually, the topic of extraction comes up during a regular check-up and can generally wait to be scheduled around school, work or other commitments. Ideally it will be done before the roots are fully formed, and before decay or other problems set in.
In short, if wisdom teeth present and align correctly, they should stay. If it can be shown that they are likely to cause damage, or are prone to decay and gum irritation, their removal makes sense.