ZocdocAnswers"If my wisdom teeth aren't bothering me, do I have to remove them?"

Question

"If my wisdom teeth aren't bothering me, do I have to remove them?"

Everyone thinks I should have my two wisdom teeth removed, but they don't cause pain or swelling. I think surgery is unnecessary. Am I right?

Answer

I strongly recommend talking with your dentist or your oral surgeon about this issue. Although you are right that wisdom teeth are most often removed because they become "impacted" - leading to pain and occasionally misalignment of the other teeth, there are sometimes other important indications for removing them. For example, since the wisdom teeth sit so far back in the mouth, they can be very difficult to clean or to floss around. In this case, they may cause high levels of circulating bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to inflammation of the gums around the other teeth. As a result, removing these very difficult to clean teeth can sometimes be the best way to preserve general oral health and keep the other teeth in your mouth healthy long term. So please talk to your dentist! If there is no evidence of pain or crowding, or evidence of gingivitis or other oral infection, then it might not be necessary to remove the teeth, but they will definitely know best. Also, if it is necessary to remove the teeth, they will be able to educate you on the specifics of that procedure and what you need to know both in order to prepare for it and to recover uneventfully.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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