It’s true most people have their wisdom teeth removed in their early to mid-20s — it’s just easier that way. But what if you still have your wisdom teeth? Is it too late to have them extracted?
Absolutely not! The truth is you’re never too old to have your wisdom teeth removed. While we recommend having them removed earlier, there can be great benefits to the surgery if you’ve never done it before — no matter how old you are.
Yes, as you age, your roots within your mouth are more deeply imbedded and formed, so it can be more painful to have your wisdom teeth removed later in life. There can also be more complications.
Why Wisdom Teeth Are Usually Removed
Pain isn’t the only reason to have your wisdom teeth removed. We typically recommend removal for a number of reasons. These include swollen or bleeding gums. Damage to other teeth — especially second molars. Some people have difficulty opening their mouth with wisdom teeth, which can lead to chewing problems.
Are Your Wisdom Teeth Causing You Problems?
There are some lucky individuals who never have to have their wisdom teeth removed. Their mouths are big enough wisdom teeth don’t crowd the rest of their teeth. But even if you don’t notice these problems early on, you can develop them later in life. Some people put off the procedure only to find discomfort as they get older. But no matter your age, we can extract your wisdom teeth. And yes, wisdom teeth removal is covered by most dental insurance plans.
If you’re 35, still have your wisdom teeth and they aren’t causing you problems — congratulations, you’ve won the lucky wisdom teeth lottery ticket. Some older patients do develop cavities in these teeth as they age since the teeth are located far back in the mouth and difficult to clean. In the case of severe tooth decay, we may consider removing your wisdom teeth.
What You Can Expect as a Mature Patient
There are some associated risks to having your wisdom teeth removed as an older patient. First, you’ll need a longer recovery time. Some older patients may need as long as a week to fully recover from the treatment, rather than the typical 1 to 3 days.
You do face some risk of nerve damage and may lose some degree of feeling in your lower lip. As you age, your wisdom teeth may grow closer to that nerve, which can cause minor problems.
Why Most People Should Have Wisdom Teeth Removed
For starters, most people don’t have room for wisdom teeth. And even if you do have room, these teeth can be difficult to clean since they are so far back in your mouth. You don’t really need them so there is little benefit to keeping them in.
Some put off the procedure due to financial issues or they don’t have dental insurance. (This is why it’s a good idea to have your wisdom teeth removed while you are still covered by your parents’ dental insurance.) Perhaps you are in better financial circumstances or find yourself with an insurance plan that covers wisdom teeth removal? Then maybe you should consider it. You really are never too old.
Talk to Your Dentist
To really know if wisdom teeth removal is for you, talk to your dentist. He or she can do a full assessment to determine if wisdom teeth are causing you problems. They can also help determine what increased risks you face if you are having wisdom teeth removed at an older age.