Do All Wisdom Teeth Have to Be Removed?

No one in my family had wisdom teeth. None of my children do either, until this last child. We just had her first check-up. When they did x-rays, I was shocked to find out she had wisdom teeth. I keep hearing that wisdom teeth need to be removed, but the dentist said not to worry about it yet. When do I have to worry about it? I really would like to plan these things out or have some idea what to expect.

Melanie M.

Dear Melanie,

Your family has been fortunate in all missing out on the glory of wisdom teeth. However, don’t panic that your daughter has them. Not all of them have to be surgically removed. That’s likely why your dentist said not to worry about it yet.

What will determine if she needs to have them removed is how they’re coming in. If they’re coming in without bumping up against anything important, then you can just let them come in. If they’re situated in a way where they’ll become impacted against something, that’s when they may need to be removed. Not all impacted wisdom teeth necessarily need to be removed.

The ideal time to remove them, if the dentist thinks they’re going to be an issue, is in your daughter’s teens or twenties.

The wisdom teeth which are the most likely to develop problems is when the wisdom tooth is partially erupted and partially under the surface. These are almost certain to develop an infection, which could land her with a dental emergency.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik.