Have you recently been told that you or your child need to have your wisdom teeth taken out? It’s a safe bet to say that most people would gladly trade a little extra “wisdom” in exchange for not needing this procedure! But rest assured that wisdom teeth extraction is easier than you might think and also protects your long-term oral health in many ways. In this blog, you’ll find out why we get wisdom teeth to begin with and how having them taken out will contribute to a healthier smile.
Why Do We Get Wisdom Teeth?
Most people get 3 sets of adult molars (that’s right – there are a few lucky folks who don’t!) The first set comes in about age 6, the second set around age 12, and the third set (the wisdom teeth) come in between the ages of 17 -25.
So, why do we get wisdom teeth if they just need to be taken out? It has to do with the evolution of both our jaws and diets over time.
At one time, people had larger jaws and needed these extra molars to eat tough and fibrous foods. Now, with a softer diet and the use of modern cutlery, wisdom teeth aren’t necessary.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Taken Out?
Many patients don’t see the need for extractions if their wisdom teeth aren’t currently causing problems. However, there’s real potential for problems later on, so it’s a proactive way to avoid these issues altogether.
And, since healing after extractions is so much easier for younger patients, it’s a good idea to do the procedure earlier rather than later.
Here are some additional reasons to take wisdom teeth out:
- Impaction – Impaction is quite common and occurs when the wisdom teeth only come in partially. This creates a deep pocket of gum tissue that collects plaque and bacteria and can result in pain, swelling or a serious infection.
- Poor hygiene – Wisdom teeth are very hard to access and clean with a toothbrush and floss, so they can easily develop cavities and gum problems.
- Lack of space – Unfortunately, most people’s jaws simply aren’t big enough to accommodate wisdom teeth.
What Are Some Other Benefits of the Procedure?
Everyone can agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to dental work. Here are several issues you can prevent by having your wisdom teeth extracted:
- Sinus problems
- Damage to the adjacent teeth
- Severely inflamed, painful gums
- Crowding of your other teeth or bite alignment issues
- Cysts or infections deep in the jaw
Don’t forget – having your wisdom teeth extracted only has to be done once, but it will help you have better oral health for life!
About the Author
Dr. James D. Geer has been a family dentist for 40 years and performed countless oral surgery procedures, including wisdom teeth extractions. With decades of experience and his reassuring chairside manner, he provides outstanding care and always puts his patients at ease – even during extraction procedures. If you have any other questions about wisdom teeth, he can be reached via his website.