A young woman getting a tooth extracted Based on figures from the American Public Health Association (APHA), about 10 million wisdom teeth are removed every year and Americans spend about $3 billion for it. Do people need to get rid of their wisdom teeth, though?

The Wisdom Behind Wisdom Teeth

Studies show that if wisdom teeth don’t cause any discomfort or problem, then it’s okay to keep them. As long as they’re healthy, there’s no need to go through the painful process.

Some of the common problems related to wisdom teeth include gum infection (due to trapped food pieces) and poor growth (when the tooth grows crooked or facing the wrong direction — some are slanted or horizontal, as if in a sleeping position). There are also instances when wisdom teeth grow so far back that it’s difficult to clean them.

The Right Time for Extraction

Here are some symptoms you should watch out for if you’re experiencing wisdom teeth pain. Salt Lake City dentists noted that it’s important not to delay extraction if it’s truly necessary.

  • Gum disease and tooth decay
  • Jaw stiffness or pain near an impacted tooth
  • A swelling in the gum tissue that has formed around or on top of an impacted tooth
  • Crowding teeth, which is common for people whose jaws are not large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth

While many people can spot these symptoms right away, only a dentist can diagnose gum disease and other periodontal problems that require dental surgery. If you continue to experience jaw pain and stiffness, book an appointment with your dentist.

Due to the bad impression wisdom teeth removal has accumulated over the years, many people choose to delay surgical treatment for as long as possible. However, delaying treatment means that the symptoms will only get worse and could affect nearby teeth and your quality of life.