The last teeth to emerge from your gums are the back molars, popularly known as wisdom teeth. In most cases, wisdom teeth appear between 17 and 25, give or take a few years. However, most people lack enough room in their jaws to accommodate another tooth. Notably, growing wisdom teeth tend to push existing teeth, leading to shifting and crowding. When it happens, your dentist will recommend wisdom teeth removal, a fairly standard procedure among young adults. Unfortunately, most people do not understand wisdom teeth removal, which might explain the misconceptions surrounding the procedure. This write-up highlights and debunks the misunderstanding.
Myth: It is a Mandatory Procedure for Everyone — One common myth you are likely to encounter is that wisdom teeth removal is a mandatory procedure. However, nothing could be further from the truth because a dentist recommends wisdom teeth extraction only if necessary. For instance, if your wisdom teeth are pushing adjacent teeth, then extraction is the only option. In other cases, an impacted wisdom tooth growing awkwardly might also call for immediate removal or lead to infections. However, there is no reason to remove wisdom teeth if they grow naturally and do not affect the position of other pearly whites.
Myth: It Leads to a Dry Socket — A dry socket is a condition where a blood clot develops before a tooth extraction wound heals. Unfortunately, it exposes the underlying bone and nerves, which is why a dry socket is painful. Notably, a dry socket can occur after extracting any tooth and not just the back molars. However, certain conditions must be met for a dry socket to occur. For instance, if you smoke tobacco, have a poor oral health routine, or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, you will likely suffer from a dry socket once your wisdom teeth are extracted. Overall, only 2% to 5% of all patients develop a dry socket after wisdom teeth removal.
Myth: Early Extraction Is Inappropriate — As mentioned earlier, wisdom teeth can emerge when one is as young as 17 years old. However, some people believe that early removal of wisdom teeth is not appropriate. While you can leave your wisdom teeth undisturbed and monitor their growth over time, early extraction is considered a better approach. The reason is that oral surgeries, such as wisdom teeth extraction, become challenging with age, not to mention the prolonged recovery period. Thus, dentists recommend early extraction when it is clear that the back molars will impact other teeth.