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Do We Need Wisdom Teeth?

 

Many people have their wisdom teeth extracted as teens and young adults. If you still have wisdom teeth, you’ve likely had a dentist recommend that you get them removed! However, do you really need to have them extracted? What are the risks if you leave them be?

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Humans no longer “need” wisdom teeth. They’re a throwback to our ancestors who didn’t have the cooking techniques and tools available to make chewing easier. Now considered “useless teeth,” wisdom teeth can sometimes cause problems. They erupt later than other teeth and can lead to crowding, or they can shift your teeth into uncomfortable and unsightly positions. Some wisdom teeth never erupt, some come in sideways (impacted), and some can play at the line between erupting and not for years.

They can certainly be a pain, but if they’re already erupted, should you keep them?

Weighing Pros and Cons

If your wisdom teeth have erupted and haven’t caused problems with nearby teeth, there can still be issues. Wisdom teeth are notoriously tough to reach for flossing and brushing. It’s very common to see major plaque buildup, and eventually tooth decay, with those back teeth. You might need to use a water pick instead of floss for them, and sometimes using a child-sized toothbrush can help you reach those far nooks and crannies.

Dentists may recommend extractions simply to make oral hygiene easier for you. Getting wisdom teeth removed is a painless process that doesn’t take long, but the healing aspect can be annoying for some. There is a risk of “dry socket,” and you might need to take it easy with chewing for a few days. However, the majority of wisdom tooth extractions are easy to heal, quick and painless.

Talk to your dentist about whether you should remove or keep wisdom teeth.

 

 




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