11 Sep Why We Usually Remove Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth can cause you pain and even reverse correctional orthodontic work if you leave them untreated. Pain from your wisdom teeth can sometimes be serious, or they could simply be erupting from your gums, causing a mild but constant discomfort. A basic examination or a few simple x-rays will help us establish what is going on in your mouth. Depending on their development, we may recommend removing them to prevent issues in the future.
What are wisdom teeth?
They are a third set of molars that make their appearance anywhere after age 17, sometimes sooner. These molars are present from birth but are hidden in the structure of the skull.
Three sets of molars erupt in one’s lifetime, the first being at approximately 6 years, the next at 12, and the last set of molars from about 17 years through to your mid-20s. The wisdom teeth appear later in life and are said to be an indication of greater knowledge and “wisdom”.
Why do we have them?
Historically, wisdom teeth existed to replace worn out molars from hard food diets. This led to a rapid deterioration of the molars, making the appearance of a third set of these food grinding teeth very important.
Because of our modern diets and the fact that we cook food to soften it, this third set of teeth isn’t as necessary. Modern medicine and education about oral hygiene also ensure that the second set of molars last for a very long time.
What problems can they cause?
Your wisdom teeth can push your other teeth out of alignment, leading to expensive corrective treatment. Wisdom teeth are also prone to gum disease and tooth decay. They’re often deeply impacted in the gums. Wisdom teeth can also cause unpleasant pain or sensitivity by pushing your existing healthy molars out of place.
At what age do you remove my wisdom teeth?
As you grow, we will take x-rays to monitor the development of your molars. Because wisdom teeth take until early adulthood to erupt and can correct themselves through your oral development and orthodontic work around them, we won’t attempt to remove them until we absolutely have to. For those reasons, there is no set age to have your wisdom teeth removed.
How painful is an extraction and recovery?
Extracting your wisdom teeth typically takes less than 2 hours. It is more difficult to remove partially erupted or impacted wisdom teeth, which requires a surgeon to venture a little deeper into your jaw. This surgery will cause bruising and swelling in your face, and recovery takes about 2 weeks.
You can manage the pain with general painkillers and cold compresses on your face. We recommend you do not rinse your mouth too aggressively or use straws. Any unnecessary suction can dislodge any blood clots forming over the gums. You may still brush your teeth, but be mindful and brush gently.
If you’re unsure of how your teeth are developing, book an appointment with us!