Wisdom Teeth

When Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?

Your wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars. They develop during your late teens or early twenties and if they don’t cause issues, they assist in chewing food.

It is normal to feel discomfort when the wisdom teeth first emerge onto the gum surface. However, if the new growth causes pain or the wisdom tooth becomes impacted, a visit to your dentist is in order. You may need to have the wisdom tooth removed. 

Common Problems

You could be among the population that doesn’t have the jaw space for the wisdom teeth to surface. Or the wisdom tooth could emerge in the wrong position. In many cases, the wisdom teeth are stuck or impacted in the jaw or under the gums.

Signs of trouble

Your periodontist in Vero Beach, FL can tell from the following that your wisdom teeth could be causing trouble:

  • The wisdom teeth are out of position. This allows food to become trapped and promotes the breeding place for the bacteria that cause plaque.
  • The wisdom teeth grew without allowing for the space needed to properly floss between the new tooth and the adjacent molars.
  • The partially grown wisdom teeth cause pockets in the gums that allow bacteria to enter and cause infection and swelling of the gums or jaw.
  • Wisdom teeth can cause crowding or damage.
  • Impacted tooth causes the growth of a cyst, which could damage roots of nearby teeth, or bone loss in the root area.

When you might need your wisdom teeth removed:

Your dentist, after examining your mouth and taking x-rays, could recommend extraction of the wisdom teeth where there is evidence of the following:

  • Gingivitis and developing gum disease
  • Severe tooth decay to the extent that the tooth cannot be restored
  • Severe pain and infection
  • The presence of cysts or tumors 
  • Danger to/potential or actual damage to adjacent teeth
  • The requirement of other dental treatments—fitting braces, for example—where removing wisdom teeth can contribute to a positive outcome
  • The wisdom teeth are impacted

Issues caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Sometimes the impacted wisdom tooth may not fully emerge, exposing only a portion of part of its crown–or it may remain fully impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can grow in several different positions:  towards the next tooth, toward the back of the mouth, lying down within the jawbone, or straight up and down while still remaining trapped. They can damage adjacent molars and cause crowding, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Types of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

1. Full-bony: The tooth is completely fused in the jaw. This is the most difficult to remove.

2. Partial-bony: The wisdom tooth is only partly attached to the jaw. 

3. Soft-tissue: The tooth lies below the gum, but has erupted normally above the surrounding bone. This is the simplest type of extraction.

4. Erupted: Part of the wisdom tooth appears above the gum.


The surgical procedure is performed in an oral surgeon’s office. The length and difficulty of the procedure depends on how the impacted tooth has developed.  

Before the extraction begins, you are given an injection of local anesthetic. Patients who experience high anxiety can usually benefit from sedation dentistry.

If the tooth has not emerged through the gum, the surgeon makes an incision. You will feel some pressure just prior to removal of the tooth. At this point, the surgeon widens the tooth socket as the tooth is rocked back and forth before removing it. Simple wisdom tooth extraction takes just a few minutes. The more complicated extractions can take longer.

Following the surgery, you may need to take antibiotics to fight infection, avoid strenuous activity, and refrain from eating and drinking for 24 hours.

Vero Beach Dental is Here For You

If you are experiencing discomfort, it’s never too late to have teeth removed if necessary. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Vero Beach Dental today.