Patients are frequently nervous when they hear that they should have their wisdom teeth removed. Too often, this anxiety leads to avoidance of having wisdom teeth removal done in a timely manner. If you have been told that wisdom teeth removal should be done, you may be nervous; especially if this will be your first time undergoing surgery or having anesthesia. In most cases, learning more about why wisdom teeth removal is recommended helps alleviate those worries about the procedure itself.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are so-called because they are the last teeth to appear in the mouth. Older people are supposed to be wiser; hence the term “wisdom teeth.” But wisdom teeth are actually just molar teeth. They are called third molars.
The average adult person has a total of 32 teeth, evenly situated between the top and bottom sets of teeth. The back teeth are called the molars. The very back molars – the third molars – are the wisdom teeth. There are typically four wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth usually make their appearance in very early adulthood, in the late teens or early twenties. However, wisdom teeth actually begin to develop many years before that, around the age of 10 or so. Usually, by this age, the very beginning stages of development of the wisdom teeth can be seen via x-ray.
What Can Go Wrong With Wisdom Teeth?
In many cases, wisdom teeth do not come in as they should. Wisdom teeth need to have sufficient space to grow in behind other teeth. When they don’t have that space, problems can arise that can affect the other, healthy teeth in the mouth.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If the wisdom teeth can’t grow and come up through the gums at the back of the mouth, one or more of them may become impacted. This means that the wisdom tooth is “stuck” beneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems. One common problem is jaw and neck pain. This can become so serious that the person has trouble eating, speaking and/or sleeping.
Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to infection. Often, cysts or tumors may develop around the impacted tooth. This leads to the build-up of bacteria, which ends up damaging the roots of nearby teeth and the degradation of the jawbone. Removal of the impacted wisdom teeth usually resolves this problem.
Another problem that can happen with the growth of wisdom teeth is teeth displacement. This occurs when the wisdom teeth do grow in, but there isn’t sufficient space. The wisdom teeth displace the other teeth, causing the rest of the teeth to shift. This happens slowly, but it can totally undo expensive orthodontic treatments, and cause further damage to the rest of the teeth in the mouth.
The Benefits of Getting Wisdom Teeth Removal
Getting your wisdom teeth removed has a number of benefits. There are more benefits to getting wisdom teeth removed than there are to keeping your wisdom teeth.
First of all, having wisdom teeth removed either prevents or solves the issues listed above. If your wisdom teeth have not yet come in, you can avoid the potential problem of impacted wisdom teeth and teeth displacement. You can also prevent the possibility of wisdom teeth ruining your expensive orthodontic work. It’s even better if you can get wisdom teeth removed at a younger age rather than at an older age.
Why Get Wisdom Teeth Removed Sooner Rather Than Later?
If you have a child and the dentist has recommended that the child’s wisdom teeth be removed, it’s best to have the procedure done as soon as possible. Wisdom teeth develop from “tooth buds.” These buds are small in the early stages, and grow bigger as the wisdom tooth develops. It’s much easier to remove the tooth bud when it’s small. The procedure is a lot easier, faster and carries fewer risks than when wisdom tooth removal is done after the wisdom tooth is fully developed.
Furthermore, children who have their wisdom teeth removed early on typically experience an easier recovery period than adults who have wisdom teeth removed.
As you can see, it makes sense to have wisdom teeth removed in order to avoid complications down the road. It also makes sense to have wisdom teeth removed when they are in the earliest stages of development. Please consult with your dentist today about your wisdom teeth questions or to find out if wisdom teeth removal is right for you.