Should wisdom teeth be removed?

True or False?

Should wisdom teeth be removed?

To remove or not to remove? All of us experience this dilemma when we suffer the inevitable unbearable pain because of wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth erupt later than all the other teeth, mostly between late teens and mid 20s. Presumably at an age when a person gets wisdom!

Ideally humans have four wisdom teeth — two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw on each side. For many years, removing wisdom teeth was the rite to passage, but now it may not always be a good idea to do so.

If they are upright and positioned correctly in the mouth and are devoid of any symptoms like pain or other dental issues, wisdom teeth don’t have to be extracted.

Let’s take a look at why wisdom teeth need to be removed:

If they are not fully formed, i.e. they are partially or fully impacted in the bone or gums, causing pain.

If they sprout sideways and cut into the cheek causing ulcers and cheekbites.

If the teeth lie horizontally in the jaws and are unable to erupt.

If the gum around the tooth is infected, causing pain till the ears and making it hard for you to swallow food.

If it pushes the front teeth causing crowding and malalignment.

In cases where none of these complications exist, it is best to let the teeth be or go for dental examination with proper evaluation and treatment plan.

Dr Shraddha Bahirwani (The author is senior consultant, dental medicine at Manipal Hospitals)

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