When should wisdom teeth be removed?

The question, about the right time to remove wisdom teeth, is a debatable topic among dentists. This has been a long-standing argument between dentists and orthodontics for years. Should the wisdom tooth be removed before it starts causing trouble for the patient? It’s the question with many answers.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth do not always erupt and develop perfectly. In fact, the perfect eruption and development of the wisdom teeth are experienced by only a small fraction of people. Most people face complexities and difficulties because wisdom teeth seldom erupt and develop flawlessly.

Most of the time, the wisdom teeth do not find sufficient space to erupt since they erupt at around 17-22 years of age. By this time, the tooth arch is already full of other teeth. Occasionally, wisdom tooth erupts sideways. Because the other adjacent tooth blocks its eruption, it cannot find sufficient space.

This impacted wisdom tooth starts creating trouble for the patient. It might get infected or decayed. It can also start to damage the other adjacent teeth. Eventually, some people experience cysts and this condition might even lead to cancers.


The real question here is whether the problematic wisdom tooth should be extracted before such complications arise, or whether the dentist should wait and see if the impacted wisdom tooth creates any trouble for the patient. If it does then it should be removed. These are the two basic approaches to deal with the situation.

Some dentists are of the opinion that wisdom teeth should not be bothered until they bother you. This means that if the wisdom tooth does not start causing problems, there is no need to extract it. Others believe that since impacted wisdom teeth usually cause issues, such wisdom tooth should be extracted right away.

Dentists who believe that the wisdom tooth should not be extracted right away suggest that even though the patient goes through discomfort, it saves the cost of a needless tooth extraction. 

On the other hand, advocates of the immediate removal of the impacted wisdom tooth argue that if the tooth is not extracted immediately, then the extraction of the tooth would get more complicated with time and the recovery for the patient after the extraction would be more stressful and would take more time.

Possible complications

An impacted wisdom tooth that is left untreated and not extracted can lead to complications such as:

  • Gum infection. This means that the gum tissue surrounding the partially erupted wisdom tooth gets infected and diseased.
  • Cysts. Fluid-filled cysts can be formed on the gums near the partially erupted wisdom tooth. These cysts are very painful and can grow even larger.
  • Dental caries and decay. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can easily get decayed because these teeth are very tricky and hard to clean