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Wisdom tooth removal: When wisdom tooth extraction is necessary?

Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of our mouths and don’t always need to be removed so long as they’re healthy, grown in completely, biting correctly, and are able to be cleaned as part of regular hygiene practices.

Still, just because your wisdom teeth aren’t a source of pain doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong. The teeth could be stuck, or impacted. That means they can’t break through your jaw and into your mouth. Maybe your mouth is too small to make room for them, or the teeth could be growing at an angle to other teeth. They can damage the tooth next door if they push up against it.

Why some dentist suggest early wisdom teeth removal

Some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth if they don’t fully emerge. Many dentists believe it’s better to remove wisdom teeth at a younger age, before the roots and bone are fully formed, and when recovery is generally faster after surgery. This is why some young adults have their wisdom teeth pulled before the teeth cause problems.

If you wait, you could have problems after surgery that range from heavy bleeding and fractured teeth to severe numbness and minor loss of movement in your jaw. These troubles could last a few days or a lifetime.

When is wisdom teeth removal necessary?

Your oral surgeon may recommend removal as a proactive measure, as patients who keep their wisdom teeth are at a greater risk for future oral health problems. And if your examination reveals any of the issues listed below, your surgeon will likely advise you to schedule wisdom tooth extraction soon.

tooth removal infographic

Gum Disease

The third molar area is difficult to clean properly. As a result, gum disease often occurs at the back of the mouth. When a healthy, at-home oral hygiene routine and more frequent visits to the dentist for cleanings aren’t resolving the problem, wisdom teeth removal may be necessary.

Tooth Decay 

Cavities are all too common in the wisdom teeth, as many people have trouble cleaning these teeth. If extensive decay develops and a dental filling cannot be placed, wisdom tooth extraction may be the only way to keep the decay-causing bacteria from compromising the nearby teeth.

Crooked and Crowded Teeth 

Your wisdom teeth begin to come in between the ages of 17 and 25. These are a third set of molars that are usually removed because they easily crowd the mouth. By the ages of 17 through 25, most people have already had crooked teeth corrected with braces or retainers. A third set of molars growing in can completely undermine the years you spent achieving straight teeth. Wisdom teeth will push other teeth around the more they grow in, therefore removing them before they crowd the other teeth is in the patient’s best aesthetic interest.

tooth removal for Crowded

Damage to nearby teeth 

Because your permanent teeth are already positioned, this extra set of molars’ eruption can force them to shift their position. This causes pain, bite problems, and overcrowding, making it difficult to brush and floss effectively and eventually lead to cavities or tooth decay. If treatment is delayed, you may also need to undergo additional procedures to straighten impacted neighbouring teeth.

Damage to the jaw

First comes stiffness or pain, then before you know it, damage to the jawbones, impacting the mouth’s function and motion. Like all teeth, wisdom teeth erupt from the jaws and through the gums, but this isn’t always the case, especially when there’s no space left around the other teeth.

Some wisdom teeth grow impacted within the jaw, shifting the other teeth and even the jawline. This can limit the opening of the mouth and cause pain when doing so. Cysts can also form along the newly erupted molars, which can hollow out the jaw bones and damage the nerves of neighbouring, healthy teeth when left untreated.

Sinus Issues 

Many patients are surprised to learn that wisdom teeth can cause a ton of different sinus issues. From recurring sore throats to general congestion and sinus pain or pressure, these all may be triggered because of wisdom teeth coming in. This is because the teeth are so close to the sinus cavity that the sinuses become inflamed and congested, leading to several different sinus issues.


Pericoronitis is an acute bacterial infection occurring in the gum tissues around a partially emerged wisdom tooth. Without proper treatment, this condition can be life-threatening. This may involve a periodontal debridement procedure and a course of antibiotics, but extraction of the third molars may also be required.

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive oral health treatment to all our patients. Our team, led by Dr. Tafreshi, believes that a solid doctor-patient relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. We work closely with each patient to establish a lifelong partnership and provide personalized treatment plans. We want you to feel empowered in making decisions about your oral health. Don't let dental care be a luxury out of reach; we believe a beautiful smile is easily achievable for everyone. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you achieve your dental goals.

15 Mareblu Suite #360, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656