By Dr. John White

There are a lot of old wives’ tales that never seem to get debunked—even with all the research and facts available today.

One I often hear is that if you have braces to straighten your teeth but don’t get your wisdom teeth removed, your teeth will become overcrowded and crooked when your wisdom teeth erupt.

While this is more wives tale than factual, there are other reasons why you should get your wisdom teeth removed.

I recommend extracting wisdom teeth in your late teens or early 20s to prevent issues in the future. These teeth, which are the third molars in the back of the mouth on each side of the upper and lower jaws, are the last to erupt (usually as teenagers mature).

Wisdom teeth cause infections in about 20 percent of people if not removed. If you wait until you are in discomfort from an infection, the recovery will be longer and you can be more prone to dry socket after extraction. Even if your wisdom teeth do not cause any pain, they may be impacted or push against the tooth next to it, which can cause misalignment and bite problems.

As you age, the bones in your mouth get harder and the roots get stronger, making your teeth harder to remove. As a result, it is a standard practice—almost a rite of passage—for young adults to get their wisdom teeth removed.