Do You Really Need Wisdom Teeth? Why Dentists Say You Should Keep Them

There are two schools of though on wisdom teeth. Pull them or leave them be (whenever possible). Dentists have conflicting opinions on this subject. You might be wondering why you need them, since a lot of food does not typically go that far back in your mouth. Here is why some dentists say you should keep your wisdom teeth.

Your Wisdom Teeth Prevent Shifting and Moving of Your Other Teeth

Any time you have teeth missing, the teeth closest to these openings eventually slide into the opening. This can really throw your bite off, because your teeth are not where they are supposed to be. The same holds true for your wisdom teeth. While removing them may provide more room for an already crowded mouth, their removal creates four open spaces in your mouth where your remaining molars can slide backwards and throw your bite off. If your other molars slide back, then your other teeth could follow, creating all kinds of bite problems.

Your Wisdom Teeth Help Keep Your Airway Open

This may sound weird, but having your wisdom teeth helps keep your airway open, and keeps it open wider. Without your wisdom teeth, the back of your mouth relaxes more, and you are less able to breathe at night. This results in higher chances of sleep apnea and the need for a CPAP or BiPAP machine to breathe.

Your Wisdom Teeth Reduce Some of the Effects of Bruxism

While bruxism (grinding your teeth in your sleep) will never go away, its effects are compounded by the missing wisdom teeth. Your wisdom teeth are the biggest molars in your mouth. When they are present, they receive more of the brunt of grinding teeth than the other molars in the back of your mouth, thereby reducing the effects on your other molars.

Your Wisdom Teeth Keep Your Jaws Aligned So You Feel Less TMJ Pain

TMJ, or temporo-mandibular joints, are the two joints on both sides of your face where your lower jaw pops into your upper jaw. When your wisdom teeth are present, your jaw is better aligned, and you feel less pain from the TMJs and TMJ disorder. (Some dentists may even argue that the presence of wisdom teeth actually prevents TMJ disorder, but the jury is still out on that claim.) At any rate, to have your jaws feel less sore in the morning is worth keeping your wisdom teeth, especially if your wisdom teeth do not really need to come out.

For more information on whether you are a good candidate to keep your wisdom teeth or not, contact local professionals like Family Medical Dental Center.