It’s crossed all of our minds at one point or another, the dreaded wisdom teeth removal. The good news is that with recent medical advancements, getting your wisdom teeth removed is a much easier and less painful experience than it was a few decades ago. And the even better news is that many people don’t have to get them removed in the first place.
Every mouth is different and as a result everyone needs to be addressed differently. There isn’t one set of rules or expectations for everyone, but you can still get a better understanding of what’s going on in your mouth and uncover all the secrets to the wisdom tooth removal process.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Everyone talks about them, everyone acknowledges them, but what really are wisdom teeth? In simplest terms your “wisdom” teeth are your third set of molars on your both upper and lower jaws. They sit the furthest back in your mouth, look like all your other molars, and can often be the biggest teeth in your mouth.
The term “wisdom” teeth derives from the fact that they typically grow in much later than your other teeth. Your wisdom teeth are expected to grown in anywhere between the ages of 17 and 21 and because you’re much older by then, you’re smarter and also “wiser”, hence the name “wisdom teeth”.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
So many people will ask themselves “if many of us have to get our wisdom teeth removed, why do we even have them in the first place?”. And the answer to that question is somewhat controversial, but Anthropologists will tell you that it’s an evolutionary thing and goes back as far as prehistoric times.
An analysis of our ancestors’ diet and limitations show that they were much more reliant on their teeth then we are nowadays. Back then their diet consisted more of coarse, rough foods such as nuts, roots, and meats while nowadays we have much more variety and options for other types of food on a regular basis. In addition to that we often utilize things like forks, knives, and cooking methods to make the chewing process easier on ourselves.
Along with dietary differences, our ancestors also didn’t have the medical advancements we have nowadays and as a result their teeth commonly experienced cavities and tooth decay. As tooth loss became a problem, the need for more backup teeth became critical.
Anthropologists will also bring up the fact that our ancient ancestors genetically had much larger jaw bones then we do now. This is important to note because our smaller jaws play a huge role in why many of us need our wisdom teeth to be removed in the first place.
Why Do We Get Our Wisdom Teeth Removed?
There’s no denying the fact that nowadays wisdom teeth get quite the bad rep. In fact many people experience problems with their wisdom teeth before they’ve even grown in. But as we mentioned before not everyone has to go through the experience of getting their wisdom teeth removed. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people then you don’t need to worry and you can fully enjoy your extra set of harmless teeth, but if you’re not one of those lucky people, or if you’re unsure, then you might want to take a look at a few of the reasons why your wisdom teeth may need to be removed.
Much of the time problems with wisdom teeth arise before they have even grown in because they are growing in abnormally or are impacted in some way. Because everyone’s teeth are different, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly and talk about any concerns you may have. This is why x-rays play such a crucial role in the dental world. Dentists are constantly keeping track of how your teeth are aligning and growing in so that they can easily catch problems early on and often before they even occur.
When wisdom teeth don’t grow in straight in can lead to quite a few complications. The molars can affect nearby teeth, it can affect your jaw, etc. Wisdom teeth coming in wrong can even lead to things like nerve damage and irreversible consequences. Impacted wisdom teeth are also common and that simply means your teeth cannot come through the gum line. This can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes other teeth are in the way and other times they can get stuck in the jawbone. It all depends on your situation. Here are just a few of the type of impactions you might come across:
- Mesioangular Impaction: With a mesioangular impaction, your wisdom teeth are angled forward towards the front of your mouth and potentially can push your other teeth out of alignment.
- Distoangular Impaction: In this case the wisdom teeth are angled towards the back of the mouth.
- Horizontal Impaction: As the name suggests, in this instance the wisdom teeth are angled sideways at 90 degree angles.
- Vertical Impaction: For a vertical impaction to occur, the tooth isn’t necessarily crooked or lopsided, it just isn’t able to penetrate the gum line for other reasons.
Another common problem, even if your wisdom teeth seem to be coming in straight is that your jaw is too small for them. Failure to have your wisdom teeth removed before they start growing in can result in your jaw suffering from very severe and permanent damage.
As you can see wisdom teeth are no joke and because they can be affected in so many different ways and have become such a common problem nowadays, it’s always worth it to talk about it with your dentist. To prevent any issues be sure to visit your dentist regularly and to pay attention to any abnormalities you may see in your mouth.
For more information on wisdom teeth and wisdom teeth removal visit our webpage for Mill Dam Dental or come by our location in person, we’re always happy to talk with you. Also if you enjoyed this blog or found it helpful be sure to check out our other informative readings here.