How To Know When To Get Wisdom Teeth Extracted

Many people might believe that their wisdom teeth should be extracted as soon as they start breaking through their gum tissue. Because wisdom tooth extraction is a type of oral surgery, it should only be performed when your dentist determines that it is necessary. Here are some things to know about if and when you should have your wisdom teeth extracted.

Sideways Presentation

Your wisdom teeth should come in with a top-showing presentation. Sometimes, however, they will start coming in sideways, which can cause problems and may need to be assessed by your dentist to determine if they should be extracted. A sideways presentation is also called a "horizontal presentation."

When your wisdom teeth come in horizontally, it can cause severe pain because the abnormally positioned wisdom teeth can put pressure on your other teeth. It can also prevent the tooth from fully coming in through your gum tissue, and therefore, become impacted.

Other problems associated with a horizontal presentation may include jaw pain, swelling of the gum tissue, and even damage to your nearby teeth. Once your dentist performs an examination, asks you about your symptoms such as pain or gum swelling, and reviews your dental x-rays, they will determine whether your wisdom teeth need extracting.


Impacted wisdom teeth can cause both dental abscesses and gum infections — and while mild infections can be treated with antibacterial mouthwashes and oral antibiotics, severe or repeated infections may mean that your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene because food particles can get trapped in the small spaces that are located between the impacted wisdom teeth and gums. In addition to raising your risk for abscessed teeth and gum infections, this can also cause cavities to develop in your wisdom teeth.

After brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution can help loosen trapped food and may also help lower your risk for infection because it is thought that salt may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

If your wisdom teeth are coming in, or if you experience dental pain or oral infections, schedule an appointment with your dentist. If they determine that your wisdom teeth need to come out, they will either perform the procedure in their office. or in the case of severely impacted or infected teeth, may refer you to an oral surgeon.