Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them and Should They Be Kept or Removed

Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them and Should They Be Kept or Removed

Posted by COMPLETE DENTAL HEALTH on Jun 2 2021, 03:16 PM

Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them and Should They Be Kept or Removed

Wisdom teeth are permanent teeth that form as the third set of molars. These teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Just like other permanent teeth, wisdom teeth also serve the purpose of biting and chewing. Our ancestors used them to chew rough and hard food items.

Modern diets are not as coarse as our ancestors' foods — nowadays, we eat cooked, softened food. Anthropologists think people have evolved beyond requiring wisdom teeth meaning we do not really need them. Therefore, many people may never get any. 

Besides, with evolution, modern humans' jaws have become smaller than those of our ancestors, leaving less space for wisdom teeth to erupt properly. Hence, for most people, their wisdom teeth don’t serve their function well. 

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Kept?

Wisdom teeth can be kept when they do not cause any concerns under the following circumstances: 

  • They are healthy.
  • They are fully erupted.
  • They are positioned properly.
  • They can be cleaned daily.

What Are the Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth may not have enough space to erupt properly for some people. This can lead to various problems such as the ones down below. 

  • If your wisdom teeth do not emerge properly, they might become hidden within the gums. This type of tooth is called an impacted wisdom tooth and might get infected or form a cyst that could damage other teeth's roots or bone.
  • When the wisdom teeth emerge partially through the gums, cleaning them as a part of daily oral care becomes difficult. Bacteria could accumulate there and cause gum disease and oral infection.
  • When a wisdom tooth develops where there is not enough space for them to come in properly, it might cause crowding or even damage nearby teeth.

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Some dentists suggest the removal of wisdom teeth only if they don't fully erupt. Others recommend removing wisdom teeth even before the roots and bone have fully emerged, and recovery is generally faster after surgery.

To summarize, the American Dental Association recommends wisdom teeth removal if you suffer from any of the following problems.

  • crooked teeth
  • crowded teeth
  • wisdom teeth developing sideways
  • tooth decay
  • jaw pain
  • fluid-filled cysts or tumors under the gums 
  • recurred infection of the soft tissue back of the lower last tooth

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

The removal of wisdom teeth is done through a surgical process. First, the dentist will subject you to anesthesia and then make an incision in the gum tissue. After that, the dentist extracts the bone blocking access to the tooth, removes the tooth, and then stitches the wound. Finally, he places gauze over the area to stop bleeding. 

An impacted wisdom tooth may or may not cause any problems. If you have any difficulties, you may need to have it extracted. 

Call Complete Dental Health LLC, Albany, OR 97322 at (541) 928-6622 to talk to our dentist if your wisdom tooth is causing problems.

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