Not everyone must have their wisdom teeth removed, but when is it necessary? Learn more about these teeth and when extraction is the best solution.
Did you know that about 5 million people have their wisdom teeth extracted per year? That’s close to the population of the Houston area! However,Guest Posting not everyone needs to have this surgical procedure.
What exactly are wisdom teeth? Is it really necessary to have them taken out? How can you know if you need to have yours removed?
As an oral surgeon, I’m asked these questions a lot in my practice. This post consists of my answers to my patients and anyone who wants to know about wisdom tooth extractions.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The third set of molars, which are commonly called wisdom teeth, start to develop and erupt typically between 16 and 25 years of age.
In history, ancient humans had wider mouths because they ate tough whole grains and raw vegetables for their regular diet. With more space, their third molars grew in without issue. However, nowadays, humans’ mouths tend to be more narrow because our food is softer and more processed. Also worth considering, in the past, oral hygiene wasn’t typical, which meant that many people lost teeth early in life from decay. In modern times, oral hygiene preserves teeth, making the wisdom teeth unnecessary.
Reasons Wisdom Teeth May Need to Be Extracted
In some cases, a person does not need to have their wisdom teeth removed. In fact, they have plenty of room in the arches without pushing against the other teeth. These teeth are able to erupt straight and healthy. In this situation, there’s no reason to take out the wisdom teeth.
However, most of the time, these third molars cause problems, namely the following.
For many, wisdom teeth develop in improper locations in the mouth because there isn’t enough space. When they aren’t perfectly straight or aligned correctly, it is called impaction, and these teeth can press against the second molars, which in turn pushes against other teeth in the arch. As you might imagine, this grinding pressure often hurts! Extraction takes care of the source of the tooth pain, allowing you to get relief and regain oral function.
Along with pain, impacted wisdom teeth can cause teeth to shift out of alignment, throwing off the bite. This not only negatively affects how you can eat and chew food, but it also can lead to uneven enamel wear, leading to more dental damage. When wisdom teeth are removed, pushing stops, enabling your teeth to stay in their ideal positions.