Many dentists will recommend patients have their wisdom teeth removed before they become a problem. If you are wondering why wisdom teeth are removed, we have all your answers here.
What Are the Third Molars?
The last set of molars to emerge, the third molars, are also known as wisdom teeth. They get that nickname because they arrive in late adolescence or early adulthood, between the ages of 17 and 25. The rest of the permanent teeth come in by age 12 or 13. For the most part, modern wisdom teeth are considered extraneous and unnecessary because we don’t need them to chew. Ancient humans had larger skulls to accommodate more molars and needed them to process their rough diet of seeds, nuts, plants, bark, insects, and meat. Additionally, these late-blooming molars were likely welcomed if their other molars had fallen out due to poor oral hygiene and gum disease!
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Because of evolution, our heads and mouths have gotten progressively smaller and don’t have much room for extra teeth. Often wisdom teeth become impacted and can’t erupt due to limited space. But even if they do emerge, these teeth are plain difficult to keep clean. Third molars are commonly removed to reduce the risk of oral health problems, such as crowding, misalignment, cysts, pain, infection, decay, cavities, gum disease, and temporomandibular jaw dysfunction (TMD).
The Process of Wisdom Teeth Removal
You’ll first need a consultation to discuss the extraction surgery. At this appointment, we’ll take X-rays of your mouth; ask questions about any pain or problems in the back of your mouth; examine your mouth and neck; and answer any questions you have about the procedure and our sedation options.
The day of your surgery, we recommend wearing comfortable long pants and a loose fitting short-sleeved top. You’ll also need someone to drive you home.
To help you have a smooth recovery, we’ll provide detailed instructions about how to care for yourself after the procedure. For example, for at least 5-6 days you’ll need to eat soft foods and avoid straws and tobacco products. You’ll also need to take very special care of your mouth so you don’t develop dry sockets or infection, and visit us for follow-ups.
Schedule Your Consultation!
Whether you are 16, 24, or 35, we can assess the condition of your wisdom teeth and create a timeline for treatment. If you are experiencing pain or tenderness behind your second molars or in your jaw, do not delay scheduling a consultation.