Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?

is wisdom tooth removal necessary

It seems that removing wisdom teeth has become a rite of passage into adulthood, but is it always necessary to remove them? The answer varies because each case is different. While it is true that extracting wisdom teeth can prevent dental problems, both now and later, only after assessing the growth, position and impact on surrounding teeth can we decide whether it’s best to remove them.

We Recommend Removing Wisdom Teeth When

They Cause Gum Problems.

Impacted wisdom teeth crowd other teeth and cause pain and swelling, especially when they only partially erupt (push themselves up through jawbone and gum tissue into the mouth). Partially erupted (impacted) teeth may lead to infections, cysts or tumors in the gum tissue or jawbone. These are serious problems that negatively affect your overall health. Incompletely erupted teeth can create deep pockets around themselves where bacteria and food can collect and infection can develop.

Their Growth Can Cause Damage to Neighboring Teeth.

Deep pockets around incompletely erupted teeth create areas where bacterial plaque, calculus and food collect. Cavities on tooth roots may develop in these areas. If cavities do develop on the roots of the neighboring teeth, extraction of the wisdom teeth and the neighboring teeth will likely be required.

The Position of the Tooth Hinders Jaw Movement or Affects Chewing Function in Any Way.

  • Does the wisdom tooth scrape the soft tissues in your mouth?
  • Does it cause you to bite your cheek?
  • Does food get caught under the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth and cause swollen and/or painful gums that you bite while chewing?

These are concerns that need to be addressed to keep you chewing your food well and facilitating digestion.

It’s clear they won’t fully erupt and they are either:

  • Moving in the direction of neighboring tooth roots or
  • Will never come into contact with an opposing tooth.

Wisdom teeth do move within the jawbone as they attempt to erupt. If they move in the direction of adjacent tooth roots and put pressure on them, the roots will resorb. This will permanently damage the adjacent tooth and will require either surgery on the affected roots or tooth extraction. Alternatively, if it’s clear that the wisdom tooth will not come into contact with its opposing tooth, it is functionally useless and the risks of keeping it can often outweigh the benefits of keeping it. Conversely, if your wisdom tooth is impacted and not causing harm in any way, it’s best to leave it in place.

Now that you know when you should remove wisdom teeth, read on for reasons why you shouldn’t.

We Don’t Recommend Removing Wisdom Teeth When They Are

  • Healthy
  • Fully erupted
  • Positioned correctly and not overly crowding adjacent teeth
  • Functioning properly

What Is The Process for Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

  • X-rays and an exam to confirm the need for extraction and plan the procedure.
  • A consultation to discuss your options for anesthesia, sedation and to review the overall extraction process before the day of the procedure
  • Administering anesthetic and possibly sedation on the day of the procedure in the comfort of the dental office
  • Opening the gum tissue and removing the wisdom tooth or teeth
  • Closing the gum tissue with sutures, which will be removed during a follow-up appointment (In some cases, the gum tissue is left open to heal)
  • The procedure may take 1 hour or more. The doctor can give you an estimate of the time required during your consultation appointment.

What Happens After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

  • Post-operative instructions will be reviewed with you in the dental office.
  • Keep gauze pads in the area to help stop any bleeding.
  • Ice packs may be used on your cheek(s) to help avoid or reduce swelling.
  • Rest and refrain from any sports or strenuous activities for a few days.
  • Avoid smoking, carbonated beverages, drinking from straws, touching the extraction site, chips and nuts and eat soft foods for 2 to 3 days.
  • Take any medications prescribed as directed.

Have you felt pain or discomfort in your jaw? Are you wondering if your wisdom teeth should be removed? Contact us for an appointment and get a professional opinion. We have answers and we can help.

About Your Indianapolis, IN Oral Surgeon

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 790-2555. Our office welcomes patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.

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Common Signs You Need to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed

Common Signs You Need to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Scholars believe that we have wisdom teeth as the evolutionary answer to eating raw meats, vegetables, and roots. These third set of molars grow in some people between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five, or the wisdom years. They are not always functional and can crowd the mouth or make problems for you in the future. The roots of the wisdom teeth are not fully embedded between the ages of sixteen and nineteen. It is recommended that they are evaluated during this time to make sure that there is no threat. As you get older, the bones in the mouth become harder, making them difficult to remove.

Some dentists decide to take these teeth out to prevent problems later on, even if no symptoms are occurring. Sometimes the teeth are impacted and cannot break into the jaw through the mouth. Waiting to have them removed could cause problems after surgery that include, heavy bleeding, fractured teeth, severe numbness and loss of movement in your jaw. These problems could go away after a little while, or they could last for a lifetime.

Common Causes for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Incorrect Growth

When these teeth grow in, sometimes they take up too much space in the mouth. These teeth cannot be straightened out with braces. When the mouth is overcrowded, there is no procedure that can be done to make the teeth all fit together. The only option is to have them removed. A dentist can determine which teeth and how many need to come out. They might have to extract all of them or only a few.

Before the wisdom teeth grow in, there is normally twenty-eight teeth in the mouth. After the wisdom teeth grow in, there are thirty-two teeth. There might not be enough room in everyone’s mouths to fit the extra teeth. Extraction is done to make sure that your mouth has enough room.

Pain and Irritation

Sometimes these teeth can cause aches and pains. If these pains occur, contact your dentist to find the right solution. They can determine if it is the actual wisdom teeth or if something else is causing the pain. When pains and irritations happen, the dentist will not always decide that extraction is the best solution. Over time, the pain might correct itself and no extraction will be required.

Difficulty Eating

If you experience pain while eating, this might be a reason to have your teeth taken out. Food could be getting stuck in between the gums and the tops of the teeth. This could cause a lot of problems if you cannot get to the back of the mouth and clean well enough while brushing. Checking with a dentist to find the right products to fix this problem is the best way to handle it. If it can’t be resolved, extraction might be the only choice.

A Cyst Forms Around the Tooth

When a sac next to the teeth becomes filled with fluid, this is called a cyst. If it goes untreated, it can destroy bones, roots and surrounding structures. It becomes too severe, it can turn into a tumor and require additional surgery.

Teeth are Not Straight

If the wisdom teeth grow in crooked, they can make the other teeth shift and move over. They might even damage the other teeth. Extraction can prevent the other teeth from having any damage. There are multiple theories why wisdom teeth tend to grow out crooked and sideways. It has been said that our jaws are not large enough to accommodate a 3rd molar which then bumps against the others causing it to grow sideways.

Sinus Issues

You wouldn’t think wisdom teeth can cause sinus problems, think again. These problems arise when teeth grow in on the upper jaw. When the teeth grow and roots develop, they can push and rub against the sinuses putting pressure on them. Even though this problem doesn’t happen frequently, wisdom teeth can sometimes lead to sinus pain, pressure, headaches, and congestions.


The position of the wisdom teeth can have a big impact on cleaning surfaces where bacteria can hide. If the gums become irritated, pockets can develop between the teeth and cause bacteria to grow. This will then promote the development of cavities leading to infecting and affecting more than just your teeth.

Inflamed Gums

Sometimes when wisdom teeth start sprouting out, it can create a flap of gum tissue that resides next to the tooth. This gum tissue can trap small particles of food and bacteria. Tissue around the teeth can become hard and inflamed, making it hard to clean. This is called pericoronitis, it can also occur around wisdom teeth that are still underneath your gums.

The procedure is done by the dentist or the oral surgeon. Patients usually have a local or general anesthetic. A general anesthetic will require someone to help you after the surgery. Depending on how many teeth will be removed and the severity of the case, the procedure can take from one up to several hours. If you are having the surgery, you might have to avoid blood thinner and aspirin prior to the surgery. There will also be aftercare with prescription medication for the pain.

Do I Have to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Some people live with their wisdom teeth for their entire lives. It is not recommended to remove any teeth because there is the chance of the teeth shifting. If they are not causing you any problems, you should not worry about having them removed. If they have to be removed, you might have to have them removed two at a time (all of the top teeth or all of the bottom teeth), or you might have to get all of them removed at the same time. This option is what is recommended to keep you from having to make a second appointment.

Whatever the condition that your teeth is in, visiting your Indianapolis dentist regularly can prevent painful occurrences later on. Making sure that you maintain a healthy dental routine along with a healthy diet will keep your mouth healthy and pain-free. A regular routine of brushing, flossing and using a good mouthwash will keep your smile free from infection and pain. Most importantly, make sure that you follow the directions of your dentist.

About Your Indianapolis, IN Oral Surgeon

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 790-2555. Our office welcomes patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.

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Can I Play Sports After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Can I Play Sports After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Wisdom teeth removal, while it is a fairly routine procedure in most cases, is still surgery, and proper post-operative care is crucial to a full and complication-free recovery. Dr. Falender often get asked about how recovery from wisdom teeth removal affects participation in sports and other activities.

The details of the care you will need and the length of your recovery depend largely upon individual circumstances, such as the number of wisdom teeth you’re having removed, your general state of health and the relative difficulty of your particular procedure.

However, there are some general guidelines that can help give you an idea of what to expect after surgery and how long you should wait before you resume normal activities, such as sports, after wisdom teeth removal.

Physical Activity Limitations: The First 24 Hours

After wisdom teeth removal, physical activity must be strictly limited for the first 24 hours. Strenuous exercise and work are to be avoided, as is bending over or heavy lifting. These restrictions apply without regard to the number of wisdom teeth removed or the difficulty of the procedure.

Even in the case of a very simple extraction, any activity that raises the blood pressure during this period can interfere with the initial phase of healing, making it difficult to control bleeding from the extraction site or sites and possibly interfering with the proper formation and retention of the blood clots that are meant to seal and protect the socket as it heals.

Sports After Wisdom Teeth Removal: Take Your Time

As a general rule, patients are advised to refrain from sports after wisdom teeth removal for about a week. However, how long you need to limit activities depends upon a number of factors, such as the location of the teeth to be removed, their positioning in the jaw, whether they have become impacted and how much root development has occurred in the tooth at the time of removal. These factors impact the complexity of the procedure, which, in turn, affects healing time.

Removing upper wisdom teeth can be a bit less traumatic than removing lower ones, so patients who have had an upper wisdom tooth extraction may be able to begin light physical activity after about five days. However, if that activity produces throbbing, pain or bleeding, patients would be wise to refrain from further exercise for a few more days, then ease into activities gradually as tolerated.

Sports and Wisdom Teeth Removal

Returning to sports after wisdom teeth removal can be a longer process when the teeth in question are lower ones. Physical activity should be limited for about ten days, especially if both lower wisdom teeth are removed, since the lower jaw bone is typically more dense than the top, taking longer to heal. In cases where surgery is complex, such as when bones must be cut to remove teeth, patients may need to avoid sports after wisdom teeth removal for longer than 10 days to ensure proper healing.

Dr. Falender can offer more specific guidance on how long you will need to refrain from sports after wisdom teeth removal after a thorough evaluation of your particular circumstances. However, it is safe to assume that you will be out of commission for at least a week or two after wisdom teeth removal. Following those restrictions is very important to ensuring proper healing and avoiding complications. If you’re on a sports team and aren’t having acute problems with your wisdom teeth, waiting for the off-season to schedule your procedure is a much better bet than putting yourself at risk by rushing recovery for the sake of getting back in the game more quickly.

About Your Indianapolis, IN Oral Surgeon

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 790-2555. Our office welcomes patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.

Read More