If you still have your wisdom teeth, you are not alone. While wisdom teeth removal is common among teens whose parents can afford the procedure, they are still the minority of dental patients. Most people still have their wisdom teeth, and the idea of removal may remain an issue with them for many years.
When a dentist tells you that you should have your wisdom teeth removed, it would be nice if everyone could afford to do that. Yet the truth is that many of us don’t have the extra money. This leaves us wondering what to do.
It’s important to remember that wisdom teeth removal isn’t really an all-or-nothing issue. It can be done in stages or avoided altogether.
The goal should be to decide what is best for you in your current situation and to make plans about how you will maintain your oral health if you keep your wisdom teeth intact.
This article is meant to help you understand how you can keep your wisdom teeth and when to consider removing one or more of them.
The Wisdom Tooth Debate
There are problems if you don’t have wisdom teeth extraction. These issues include tooth crowding which leads to more decay for all of your teeth. It may also mess up the look of your teeth or reverse the positive effects of braces if you once had them.
The more dire issues include the possibility of one or more impacted teeth where the wisdom tooth has come into the mouth incorrectly.
However, there is an argument that is quite valid that there are benefits to keeping your wisdom teeth. These third molars grow in the very back of your mouth. Each one can be a good, solid tooth that is helpful for biting and chewing.
The human mouth loses teeth over time, due to genetics, medical treatments such as chemotherapy, and poor dental hygiene. So, many people would reason that any good tooth is worth keeping.
Removing a wisdom tooth after it emerges is different than removing it while it is still under the gum line. Yet both procedures require the dentist or oral surgeon to get the roots of the tooth out of the bone.
The procedure is a big deal compared to pulling a baby tooth which generally has lost its roots. Then there’s the fact that it is so far back in the mouth, adding to the discomfort of the procedure for the patient and the difficulty for the dental professional.
Adult patients may be advised to have their wisdom teeth removed and yet wonder if it is really necessary.
Do they want the extra expense? Will it really benefit them?
Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth is Possible
Wisdom teeth are the source of many discussions among dental professionals and their patients. So you could say that the wisdom tooth debate will remain present for patients until they give in and agree to removal.
However, nothing is ever so straightforward that there is only one answer in this type of situation.
How can you decide for yourself what is best?
What if, instead of having them removed, you actively strategized how to keep them.
For instance, the dental hygienist may have something to say if it is difficult to clean in the back of your mouth due to the crowded conditions.
This is a problem, and it is one that you may have to contend with for a lifetime. Yet it is not necessarily the final word on whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth out.
A good routine for your dental health care can help you avoid the expense and physical pain of having your wisdom teeth removed. Instead of agreeing to removal as a preventive measure, you can make a pact with your dentist about the ways you can take care of your back teeth.
This will include frequent cleanings and checkups, but those six-month visits are something we should all do anyway. You may be told to add a fluoride rinse to your daily routine as well as regular flossing and brushing.
The key to keeping your third-year molars will be stopping cavities and plaque before it can form.
If you see the dentist every six months, you’ll know if a problem is developing at the root of that tooth or its neighbor tooth. This is the biggest danger once the molar has grown in fully.
Confronting Wisdom Teeth Issues One at a Time
Your dentist may have something to say if the third year molars haven’t grown incorrectly. A tooth that grows under another tooth is an actual threat. A pocket opens up that allows bacteria to grow.
The roots are tangled, adding to the chances that the bad wisdom tooth will lead to a bad second molar as well. This could lead to losing two teeth.
In this case, the logical answer is to agree to have that wisdom tooth pulled. You choose to sacrifice it to save the neighboring tooth. This doesn’t mean you have to spend the money to get all four pulled out.
Later in life, you may have a new issue with one of the remaining wisdom teeth. At that point, you might have it pulled, but you are in control of when and how you do it.
For some people, this is a good strategy that will allow for good oral health without the huge expense of paying for unnecessary removals.
It is important to keep in mind that you may wind up removing the others over time. There are serious wisdom teeth issues due to aging that will come into play as you get older.
Removing All Four Wisdom Teeth at Once
There are cases where a dentist may insist that it is best for you to have all four removed. This is usually due to the angle that they are coming into your mouth. If the majority of these teeth are going to threaten the neighboring teeth, then it becomes logical to agree to have all four removed at once.
While it is an expense and a source of major discomfort for five days to a week, you are done with the issue forever.
All worries about crowding are gone. You can concentrate on maintaining your regular teeth without worrying that your next dental visit will reveal an issue with your wisdom teeth.
As you consider what to do about your wisdom teeth, remember that you may have more options than wholesale removal. It is worth it to discuss the issue with your dentist, but you should remember that removal as a preventative measure is a choice, not a foregone conclusion.
About The Author:
Laura Bell contributes regularly to websites on a variety of subjects. Her interests include modern trends, technology, health care, and anything else that affects the quality of life of her readers.