We all know the adage: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, so why mess with wisdom teeth when they don’t seem to be causing any problems? Why are teens encouraged to have their wisdom teeth removed even though they aren’t bothering them?

Wisdom teeth are typically the last teeth to come in, between the ages of 15 and 18, while the other teeth have erupted by age 12.  And the truth is, most often, that final set of molars aren’t actually the problem. It’s what happens when they are left to their own devices that we’re worried about.

Did you know your mouth was designed to hold 28 teeth? And by the time your wisdom teeth start to erupt, those 28 slots are already filled, making it difficult for more teeth to grow incorrectly. Simply put, there’s usually not enough room in your mouth for four more teeth. When your mouth lacks space for the new molars to erupt into the proper position, they can cause serious problems. Read on for a list of reasons people should have their wisdom teeth removed before the age of 26.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

It’s quite common for wisdom teeth to become impacted. This means that they are unable to fully erupt through the gums because you’ve already got a full mouth of teeth.

Waiting to have your wisdom teeth removed can:

Cause Other Dental Problems

When wisdom teeth become impacted, hard-to-clean pockets in your gum tissue and deep openings around your teeth can develop, and these are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria. Infection, tooth decay, gum disease, and bone loss are potential outcomes when bacteria have a hay day in tucked-away places.

Damage Adjacent Teeth

Wisdom teeth crowd your adjacent teeth when there’s not enough space in your mouth which leaves no space to adequately brush and floss those neighboring teeth. Improper care of each tooth can lead to gum disease and cavities.

Misalign Your Teeth and Bite

When the third set of molars pushes its way into a crowded set of teeth, it can undo years of orthodontic work or misalign your bite. The pressure and force that happens when wisdom teeth erupt make a noticeable difference in the alignment of the lower front teeth. Wisdom teeth removal will eliminate the potential for future crowding and crooked teeth.

Result in Pain

If your wisdom teeth slowly move your other teeth as they push their way in, you may experience pain in your jaw and sinuses. Additionally, wisdom teeth often don’t move upwards but sideways which can push against the roots of adjacent teeth. This not only adds to the already uncomfortable situation but potentially damages those neighboring teeth.

Lead to a More Difficult Removal Process

Wisdom teeth removal is simpler and less painful before the roots have fully established themselves in your jaw and the bones around your teeth have become dense. And since teenagers tend to heal faster and experience fewer complications, we recommend surgery sooner rather than later.

Schedule an appointment for your teenager, so we can take X-rays, perform an evaluation, and get them started on their wisdom teeth removal journey. The earlier they have them removed, the easier the process will be. We look forward to providing your teen with a successful wisdom teeth removal experience.