Wisdom teeth are a problem for most people. Experts estimate that between 75 and 85 percent of people should have this teeth removed.
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars, and most people simply do not have mouths large enough for these teeth to fit. Typically, these teeth will erupt in someone’s late teens or early 20s.
With regular visits to Galleria of Smiles, we can monitor the development of your wisdom teeth. If we anticipate problems, we often can plan to remove your wisdom teeth before you experience any serious complications.
What Wisdom Teeth Are
In the introduction, we described wisdom teeth as your third set of molars.
Most people have all their permanent teeth by the time they are 12 or 13 years old. Molars are the larger, flatter teeth near the back of your mouth. These are the teeth people use to chew or grind their food into smaller pieces.
Since your third set of molars come in later, when you are presumably “wiser,” they have the nickname of wisdom teeth. Like your other molars, they are designed for chewing and grinding food … at least, that’s what they would do if they fit.
Most modern humans have jaws that are simply too small for these late-arriving teeth. As a result, it’s often a good idea to have these teeth removed before they can cause serious oral health problems. (More on this in a moment.)
So, why do we have these teeth if most people can’t use them?
Scientists consider wisdom teeth to be vestigial body parts, much like the appendix or tonsils. They may have had a function at one time, but today, you are more likely to hear about them because someone needed them to be removed.
There are a few hypotheses about why wisdom teeth may have come into existence.
As noted above, modern humans’ jaws are too small for wisdom teeth. Based on fossils, we know that our ancient relatives had larger jaws that could accommodate these teeth.
These may have been useful given the rougher, unprocessed diet that they ate. The extra chewing and grinding surface may have helped break down food more quickly.
Another hypothesis is that the extra teeth were needed to fill in for missing teeth. Ancient people lost teeth, too, and the third set of molars may have served as replacements for other teeth that may have fallen out or been knocked out.
Wisdom Teeth Complications
Imagine you are trying to enjoy some time with your friends when your jaw fills with intense pain. This could be one of the consequences of having impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted teeth are not able to erupt correctly and completely. Fully impacted teeth remain below the surface of your gums. Partially impacted teeth break the gum surface but don’t emerge fully.
The problems that come with impacted teeth include:
☐ Jaw pain
☐ Increased risk for cavities
☐ Increased risk for gum infections
☐ Pressure on your existing teeth
These problems can ruin your summer vacation if they are allowed to persist. While we know you would rather be hanging out with your friends than spending time at the dentist office, routine dental care can save you from the problems described above.
With X-rays and other equipment, we can track your wisdom teeth as they develop. This can help us identify potential problems before they occur.
And if we do notice them, we can schedule a wisdom teeth removal at our Sand Springs, OK, dentist office. For more complex cases, we may refer you to a specialist.
Having your wisdom teeth removed is a type of oral surgery. For that reason, we will make sure you are fully anesthetized, sedated, or both before we begin. This will prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure.
After your teeth have been removed, you will need time to recover. You will need to avoid any kind of strenuous work in the days after your extraction.
This may seem inconvenient at the time, but by doing this, you are helping your long-term oral health for this summer and far beyond.
We Hope To See You Soon
Call Galleria of Smiles at 918-205-7522 or contact us online to make an appointment. Whether you just need a dental check-up or a wisdom teeth extraction, our team will be here to help you.