Why Do Wisdom Teeth Get Removed?

A man holding his mouth in pain.

Should your wisdom teeth be removed or kept?

Wisdom teeth, aptly named because they erupt around the age of 18 when people are presumably older and wiser, are located at the back of the mouth.

In this post, we talk about common reasons why wisdom teeth are extracted and why you may also keep them. Let’s dig in.

Why do wisdom teeth get removed?

Removing wisdom teeth isn’t compulsory. Your dentist may recommend it due to any of the following reasons:

  1. Impaction. Sometimes wisdom teeth can’t properly emerge. They might only partially erupt or be growing at an awkward angle. Usually, it’s because there isn’t enough room to accommodate them. This can result in tight spaces between teeth that are harder to keep clean. Bacteria can easily collect on these areas and cause infections and gum disease.
  2. Crowding. If there isn’t enough space for the wisdom teeth, they might erupt in front of another tooth or further back at the jaw. Crowding can result in pain and discomfort, which would warrant removal. If a wisdom tooth gets stuck in the jaw bone, it may also be harmful to the jaw. Cysts can develop around the tooth and cause damage to the nerves.
  3. Preventive measure. Your dentist may also recommend removing your wisdom teeth early to prevent potential issues. Even if the teeth aren’t causing pain, they could be stuck or impacted beneath the gums. It may be easier to remove the teeth at a younger age, before symptoms appear, as the roots and bones aren’t fully developed yet. Recovery is also faster. Bones get harder as you age and may make the removal harder.
  4. Pain. Wisdom teeth often get removed as they're actively causing problems to other teeth, gums, jaw, and nearby structures. As they keep pushing adjacent teeth, you may experience growing pain and discomfort. You may notice swelling in the gum area, which can cause pockets to form and attract more harmful bacteria. The discomfort can also reach your sinuses and lead to pressure and congestion.
  5. Preservation of adjacent teeth. Another reason the wisdom teeth get removed is to protect the other teeth. If your permanent teeth are already in their ideal position, the wisdom teeth can keep pushing on them, which can cause them to move. When teeth are crooked or slanted, they’re harder to clean. This can increase your risk of developing cavities and decay.
  6. Preparation for orthodontic procedures. Sometimes wisdom teeth are extracted to prevent issues if you’re getting orthodontic work like braces done. Wisdom teeth erupting can affect the course of the procedure, especially as you and your dentist strive to shape your jaw and teeth.

Are there side effects to removing wisdom teeth?

Wisdom tooth extractions are a surgical procedure, but side effects are rare. Potential risks may also increase depending on the extent of the procedure.

After an extraction, you may experience swelling and discomfort in the area. You may not be able to open your mouth fully, and your dentist is also likely to advise you to avoid physically strenuous activities.

However, any discomfort should be temporary. If it persists it may be due to infection. Let your dentist know immediately if the pain isn’t going away.

Why keep your wisdom teeth

Your dentist may not recommend the removal of your wisdom teeth if they aren’t causing problems. But close monitoring and regular dental checkups are necessary in case asymptomatic issues arise in the future.

Get your wisdom teeth examined today in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Find out if you need to remove or can keep your wisdom teeth. Talk to your dentist today so they can examine your teeth, gums, and jaw.

If you're in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and are looking for a new dentist, contact us at Aqua Dental Wellness at ( If you’re in Winnipeg, MB, and are looking for a new dentist, please feel free to contact us today at (204) 663-3423.

We've been providing dental care services for Winnipeggers for over 30 years, and we're happy to welcome you and your family here to our practice.