For most people, wisdom tooth extraction is a simple part of life. While everyone's wisdom teeth grow in at slightly different times, starting in one's teens, most dentists will urge patients and their parents to get wisdom teeth extracted as soon as possible. It might surprise you to hear your dentist suggesting such a thing before a tooth has broken the surface of the gums or even caused any discomfort, but there's a reason for this.
How Your Dentist Knows
To start, your dentist will be able to tell if your mouth has room for wisdom teeth or not even before they grow in. While most people won't have enough room for them, in some cases, your jaw may have suitable space, and a wisdom tooth extraction procedure won't be necessary. However, this is rare.
When your dentist performs dental x-rays, they'll take a look at the growing wisdom teeth and determine what their size will be when they're fully grown. From there, they can easily determine if there's space by looking at the available room in the jaw next to the existing teeth. If there isn't enough space, they'll recommend removal.
How Roots Work
One of the reasons for wanting to remove the teeth as soon as possible is that dentists prefer to perform this procedure before the roots are fully grown in. Teeth roots are at the very bottom of the tooth and are responsible for helping to secure the teeth in place. Once the roots have fully grown, the bones of the jaw will have also grown in around the roots, supporting them. This makes the procedure a bit more difficult. While it generally poses no problem for the dentist, the recovery time may take a bit longer, as fully developed wisdom teeth typically need to be cut out of the jaw bone, whereas an immature one can usually be pulled out instead.
It's also worth pointing out that if you don't have enough space for wisdom teeth and you let them grow in, they may start causing problems before they even break through the surface of the gums. This is because the wisdom teeth can start colliding with their molar neighbors before they ever emerge, slowly pushing those teeth out of the way and overcrowding them. This can mess up the alignment of your teeth and can't be corrected once it's happened, unless you get braces.
Contact a dentist like Dr. Robert M. Lasell, DDS to learn more.