When is the best time to remove wisdom teeth? Skip to main content

When is the best time to remove wisdom teeth?

Young woman researching wisdom teeth removal

Most Americans have their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 16 and 19. But while wisdom teeth extraction is a common rite of passage, there is more to the equation than age.

You are experiencing discomfort

If the arrival of your wisdom teeth leads to discomfort in your mouth, jaw or face, in all likelihood the right time for extraction is now. Generally, once your third molars begin to cause issues, they will only get worse over time.

Wisdom teeth are causing related symptoms

In addition to discomfort, other common problems associated with wisdom teeth include:

  • Reddened or inflamed gums
  • Sinus issues
  • Headaches
  • Infection

Depending on the results of an examination by your dentist or oral surgeon, the existence of one or more of the above symptoms may lead to the recommendation of wisdom teeth extraction as the best long-term treatment plan.

One or more teeth are impacted

An impacted wisdom tooth is one that is unable to erupt from your jawbone into your mouth. Impacted teeth can erupt partially before getting stuck or remain completely trapped under the surface of the gums. Extraction is the treatment option for impacted wisdom teeth.

Diagnostic imaging shows you don’t have room

Once your jaw has stopped growing, it is a good idea to have your dentist take x-rays of your mouth to look for wisdom teeth embedded in the bone and to measure how much space remains in your jawbone for additional teeth. If it is determined that additional teeth will likely lead to overcrowding, early extraction may be presented as a preventative measure before the additional row of molars begin to erupt.

Prior to getting braces

Patients who plan to get braces may choose to remove their wisdom teeth prior to orthodontic treatment. Emerging wisdom teeth can cause the other teeth in your mouth to shift, which could impact the benefits of orthodontic treatment.

Planning for the future

Given that more than 90% of Americans will eventually have their wisdom teeth removed, many patients prefer to opt for extraction before any symptoms have occurred. Be sure to discuss your options and the risks and benefits of each choice with your dentist or oral surgeon.

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