Why do wisdom teeth usually need to be taken out?
Wisdom teeth often need to be removed because they tend to cause problems, such as infection, dental crowding, and other issues. Most people’s jaws are just too small to accommodate four additional molars.
If wisdom teeth usually hurt us more than they help us, why do we have them in the first place?
Over time, humans have developed smaller jaw bones, leaving less space for an extra set of molars to grow in. In the past, having larger jaws with extra molars was beneficial for chewing tougher foods, but modern cooking techniques made foods softer and easier to chew without the extra molars. Today, there usually isn't enough space in a person’s jaw for four extra molars to grow in without crowding other teeth or causing damage.
Does everyone need to have wisdom teeth removed?
While the majority of people will need their wisdom teeth removed, not everyone will. When wisdom teeth grow in straight without causing damage to surrounding tissues or structures, they may not need removal. The only way to know whether your wisdom teeth are growing in properly is to have an oral exam and X-rays with your dentist or oral surgeon.
What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth coming in?
When wisdom teeth are growing beneath the gums, there usually aren't any noticeable symptoms until problems start to develop. Luckily, regular dental exams throughout adolescence and early adulthood will allow your dentist to track the progress of your wisdom teeth and prevent problems from developing. If you notice any of the following symptoms, your wisdom teeth may be impacted:
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain behind the existing molars
- Crowding of the lower front teeth
- An unpleasant taste or smell in the back of your mouth.
Contact a dental professional immediately if you notice any of these symptoms — you will likely be referred to an oral surgeon to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Is wisdom teeth removal covered by insurance?
Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common oral surgery procedures. When wisdom teeth become impacted or cause problems, sometimes medical insurance will cover the removal procedure. In other cases, dental insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. When you come in for a consultation, bring all of your medical and/or dental insurance information, and our office staff can bill your insurance as a courtesy. After your consultation appointment, we will be able to provide you with a full estimate of the costs of your procedure.
Do I have to have anesthesia for wisdom teeth removal?
Most patients choose to have IV sedation during their wisdom teeth procedure. Removing one or two teeth might only require local anesthesia, which allows the patient to remain awake and aware, but removing four wisdom teeth, especially when there are complications like impaction, can be a longer, more involved procedure. Choosing IV sedation allows the patient to fall into a sleep-like state, making it easier for them to complete the entire procedure at once. Some patients do not undergo IV anesthesia because of allergies or other reasons, and if this is the case, your oral surgeon can still extract your wisdom teeth using an alternative anesthetic option. Your oral surgeon will be happy to review your anesthesia options during your initial consultation appointment.