What Are the Disadvantages of Removing Wisdom Teeth?

Man in pain after wisdom teeth removal | Source: oralfacial.com

The third molars, commonly known as the wisdom teeth, can be a literal pain in the mouth of many individuals. While some individuals may never experience any issues with their wisdom teeth, many are advised by their dentist to have them removed as a preventive measure against any potential dental complications.

It is estimated that in the United States, over $3 billion a year were spent to have 10 million wisdom teeth removed. Yet, it may not be necessary to have them removed even if they have erupted and are impacted.

A study published in 2020 revealed that there is inconclusive evidence to determine if asymptomatic, disease-free impacted wisdom teeth should be removed. This suggests that there may not be a need to remove your impacted wisdom tooth as long as it is not causing any pain or dental problem.

Types of impacted wisdom tooth | Source: Bethesda Family Dentistry

An impacted wisdom tooth is a tooth that is unable to fully emerge from the gumline due to a lack of space in the jaw or other obstacles. There are four types of wisdom tooth impaction: mesial (angular), distal (partial), vertical, and horizontal impactions. Due to its unnatural position, an impacted wisdom tooth can cause a variety of problems, including pain, infection, and damage to surrounding teeth.

While it has become a common procedure to remove the wisdom teeth, it is not always a straightforward process as the removal can come with a number of short term and long term disadvantages. In the rest of this article, we will explore some of the potential drawbacks of wisdom teeth removal, including pain and discomfort, a prolonged healing process, and the risk of complications.

You may be interested in: What Are The Benefits Of Keeping Wisdom Teeth?

Disadvantages of Removing Wisdom Tooth

As mentioned, there are numerous short term and long term disadvantages when one removes the wisdom teeth. These includes:

  1. Pain and discomfort: The extraction site can be sore and tender for several days after the procedure. Furthermore, for some time after the extraction, some may experience temporary trismus, or difficulty opening their mouth. Most of this pain and discomfort can be alleviate with pain medication and will usually go away within 24 to 72 hours after the surgical procedure.
  2. Risk of surgical complications: There is a small risk of complications such as infection, dry socket (alveolar osteitis), or nerve damage. Dry socket is a complication that occurs when the blood clot that is formed in the hole of the removed wisdom tooth is dislodged. This exposes the nerves and bones to the elements of the mouth, causing severe pain, nausea, and a bad taste.
  3. Risk of long term complications: While wisdom teeth removal is generally safe, there are rare cases where patients suffer from some form of long-term complications such as numbness, increased sensitivity, and damage to the surrounding molars.
  4. Slight change in speech: In some cases, people may experience slight change in speech due to swelling or numbness caused by the procedure. This can be temporary, but in some cases, the change can be permanent.
  5. Risk of sinus issues: Wisdom teeth extraction can cause sinus issues due to the proximity of the teeth to the sinus cavity. This can result in sinus pressure, pain, or difficulty breathing.
  6. Soft diet for a week: There are numerous inconvenience after the surgery, and none is more inconvenient than having to undergo a soft food diet. Examples of soft food include soup, scrambled egg, and mash potato.
  7. Time off from work or school: Recovery time can vary, but some people may need to take a few days off work or school to recover.
  8. High cost: Wisdom teeth removal can be expensive, especially if you don’t have dental insurance.

Should You Remove Your Wisdom Tooth?

With the list of disadvantages listed above, one should have a clear idea about the catch involved when removing their wisdom teeth. It’s important to understand the potential downsides of wisdom teeth removal so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the surgical procedure.

It is worth reminding that not all wisdom teeth require removal. If they are fully erupted and are not causing any problems, it’s best to leave them alone.

However, if the wisdom teeth are causing pain or discomfort, this is a clear indication that they need to be removed. Impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection in the gums. They can also be difficult to clean properly, increasing the risk of decay or gum disease.

The dentition of everyone is unique and particular, and the decision to remove your wisdom teeth is typically based on whether they are causing problems or are likely to cause problems in the future. It is best that you consult your dentist or oral surgeon who can evaluate your individual case and provide an expert opinion based on the current state of your wisdom tooth.