Do I Have To Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Most of our permanent teeth erupt during childhood, but the 3rd molars (or “wisdom teeth”) show up much later, usually during adulthood.  In fact, the term “wisdom teeth” originated in the 19th century because these molars don’t erupt until people are old enough to have gained some wisdom. 

If your wisdom teeth appear healthy and are in proper alignment, there is no need to remove them.  Your dentist will just monitor them throughout your lifetime.  But if they’re causing you trouble, they may need to be removed.  Symptoms of an unhealthy wisdom tooth include:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Inability to open mouth and/or pain with chewing
  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity to sweets, hot and/or cold temperatures
  • Bleeding and/or  swollen, painful gums
  • The sensation of crowding or pressure

If you are having any of these symptoms, come in to see one of our dentists at the Wilce Student Health Services Dental Clinic.  We will perform an exam and take a panoramic x-ray of your teeth to see what is going on.   The x-ray can tell us if your wisdom tooth is crowding the 2nd molar and causing a cavity, or if there are any cysts or tumors involving the wisdom tooth.

Any of the above signs or symptoms would lead us to recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed.  We don’t remove wisdom teeth at the Student Health Center; if necessary, we will refer you to the oral surgery clinic at the Ohio State College of Dentistry.

If you want to learn more about wisdom teeth, the American Dental Association has a great (and short) video that you can check out here.

Julia O’Neil-Johnson, DDS
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

One thought on “Do I Have To Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

  1. Why Take Them Out?

    Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25, and they’re spotted on X-rays. Most people have them removed for one of these reasons:
    They’re impacted. Because they’re so far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth may not come in normally. They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums, which can be painful.

    They come in at the wrong angle. They may press against your other teeth.

    Your mouth isn’t big enough. Your jaw has no room for an extra set of molars.

    You have cavities or gum disease. You may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss.

    Before Surgery

    You’ll meet with the oral surgeon to talk about the process. At this appointment, make sure you:

    Talk about any health problems you have.

    List any drugs you take on a regular basis.

    Ask any questions you have about the surgery.

    Discuss what type of anesthesia you’ll have. You can either be numb or asleep during your surgery.

    Plan time off from work or school to have your surgery and rest afterward at home. Set up child care, pet care, or a ride home if needed.

    During Surgery

    Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less.

    You’ll get one of these types of anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the removal:

    Local: Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of Novocaine in your gums.You may also breathe nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relax or even doze during surgery. You should feel alert again shortly afterward.

    IV sedation: The surgeon will numb your mouth and also give you drugs through a vein in your arm to make you drowsy. You might sleep during the whole procedure.

    General: You’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe gas in through a mask. You’ll be asleep the whole time and might not wake up for an hour or so after the surgery.

    Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out. If so, he’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. These stitches usually dissolve after a few days. He may also stuff gauze pads in your mouth to soak up some of the blood.
    Dr. Sultan Sherzoy DDS
    Bogota Dental Center
    Bogota NJ

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