To Extract Or Not To Extract: 5 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need To Come Out

While some dentists routinely remove wisdom teeth in an effort to prevent potential problems, others don't like to remove them at all unless they're already causing problems. Even if your wisdom teeth are impacted, your dentist may not opt to remove your wisdom teeth. And since wisdom teeth usually don't cause many problems after you're 30 years old -- most problems occur before the age of 25 -- there normally isn't much reason to remove them later on in life. However, when problems do occur, extraction is the best treatment option regardless of your age. Following are five signs your wisdom teeth need to come out.  


Pain, usually located at the back of the jaw, is a sign that something needs to be done about your impacted wisdom teeth. In some cases, the pain can become very intense. In others, the pain is a dull, constant reminder that there is something not quite right. In addition to pain, jaw stiffness is also a concern. 


If you have partially erupted wisdom teeth, you may experience irritation as the tooth rubs against the soft tissues of your gums, cheek and tongue. This is especially common when the tooth grows in sideways or at an unusual angle. While most irritation associated with partially erupted wisdom teeth is minor, constant rubbing may lead to very unpleasant sores and/or infection. 


Infection, often in the form of an abscess, is possible if you still have your wisdom teeth. Infection usually occurs in teeth that have partially erupted and are only slightly pushing through the gums. Infection is also common in teeth that have a gum flap over them. In both of these scenarios, bacteria may become trapped in the gum pockets surrounding the tooth, resulting in an infection. In some cases, oral infections can become quite serious. 


Impacted wisdom teeth can push your other teeth closer together, resulting in crowding. Not only does crowding lead to misaligned teeth, it can cause spaces to form in the gums between the crooked teeth. These spaces are referred to as gum pockets and are often associated with gum disease and gingivitis.   


It can be difficult to clean crowded teeth and partially erupted wisdom teeth properly because they are often situated too close together. If cleaning is an issue, you may experience gum disease and/or tooth decay as the direct result of poor oral hygiene. 

If you are over the age of 30 and your wisdom teeth aren't causing you any problems, your dentist might decide to put off extraction until there is a problem. Be sure to talk to a dentist at the first sign of trouble or if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms.