Why Do We Need Wisdom Teeth?
Historically, our ancestors ate a very different diet that required more chewing of food to digest whole grains, nuts & seeds, and wild game. Our current American diet consists of processed foods, farm-raised meat and smoothies on the go that require little chewing effort. With a softer diet and over centuries of evolution, the human jaw became shorter and more narrow. The result is less room in the mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth, leading to impaction necessitating removal.
When You May Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Sometimes wisdom teeth can grow in at an angle to your other molars or, in some cases, not grow in at all. This may cause a host of issues in the jaw or the gum tissue requiring extraction of some or all of the wisdom teeth.
- Pain or pressure in the back of your mouth
- Difficult removal of food and plaque around your molars
- Gum disease around the wisdom teeth
- Cavities within a partially erupted tooth
- Development of a cyst around a wisdom tooth
- Wisdom teeth damaging the jaw bone or adjacent teeth
The Best Time to Remove Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth develop later in the teenage years or early 20’s, so many dentists recommend removal while they are still developing and, therefore, easier to remove with fewer complications.
When You May Not Want Wisdom Teeth Removed
1.Your wisdom teeth have fully erupted. This means that your teeth can be efficiently brushed and flossed without trapping bacteria between gums and teeth. Be sure to focus on reaching all the way behind your wisdom teeth and adding mouthwash if necessary.
2. You have a correct bite. The wisdom teeth are erupted fully and are in line with the adjacent teeth
3. Your wisdom teeth are healthy, not impacted and fully erupted. Call your dentist if you have any of these unhealthy signs and symptoms:
- Bad breath that persists or a bad taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your jaw
- Jaw or tooth pain or pressure
- Swollen or bleeding gum tissue around your wisdom teeth
I need my wisdom teeth extracted. What happens next?
Typically, you will get a referral to an oral surgeon for a consult. Your surgeon will do a health assessment to learn which medications and supplements you take, your preference for sedation, and take a panoramic X-ray and/or CT scan. Depending on your needs, sedation is either done with a local anesthetic, IV sedation or general anesthesia. Bring a list of your questions for the surgeon to get answers well in advance.
If you are concerned about the health condition of you or your child’s wisdom teeth, Dr. Carangelo is here to answer all of your questions regarding if and when to remove your third molars. He will review the risks and benefits of wisdom tooth extraction to help guide you in a direction for your best health. Call us today to schedule a consultation about your current dental situation.