Most of us have friends and family that have had their wisdom teeth removed, or seen countless funny videos online of people getting out of surgery. But what are wisdom teeth? Why do they need to be removed? And what is the process really like?
These are just some of the many questions people have about wisdom teeth. Like with any healthcare concern, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as possible so that you, along with your provider, can make informed decisions about your health and well-being.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about wisdom teeth.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are a set of four molars that are situated at the very back of the mouth. They are the last adult teeth and the third molars, most often erupting between the ages of 17 and 25. While most people eventually grow wisdom teeth, it is not uncommon for people to have fewer than the typical four, and some never grow wisdom teeth at all.
In the past, human diets consisted largely of tough meats and nuts, and wisdom teeth were essential to be able to chew through these resistant food items. Since the modern diet tends to consist of softer foods, wisdom teeth aren’t usually necessary and can instead lead to a number of needless, and sometimes painful, complications.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
There are a number of potential issues that can be caused by your wisdom teeth. Because they grow so far back in the mouth, there is a risk that they can become impacted. This means that the tooth doesn’t have enough room to grow properly and instead becomes trapped in the jawbone or fails to emerge from your gums. In some cases, wisdom teeth will grow in sideways, often toward your other molars. This can be uncomfortable and cause damage to your other teeth, resulting in a crooked smile.
Aside from the complications that arise as wisdom teeth emerge, they can also lead to long-term problems that can have a serious impact on your overall oral health and smile. For example, because they sit so far back behind your other teeth, and they are often smaller or less visible, they’re notoriously difficult to keep clean. When brushing or flossing, people often have difficulty reaching and cleaning their wisdom teeth. Over time, this leaves them far more vulnerable to accumulating excess plaque and tartar, leading to decay and gum disease.
Do wisdom teeth always have to be removed?
While wisdom teeth are known to cause a number of potential problems, removal depends on the individual and their health needs, and not everyone has to go through this process. For example, if your wisdom teeth fully erupt, grow straight, don’t cause crowding, and function like normal molars, there may be no reason to remove them. However, if you do keep your wisdom teeth, be aware that they can be difficult to reach, and be mindful of them during your daily hygiene practices like brushing and flossing.
While some dentists prefer to remove wisdom teeth early on, before they can cause any potential problems, this isn’t always necessary. Rather than removing your wisdom teeth, we can simply monitor them through regular exams and x-rays to ensure they’re healthy and aren’t causing any problems.
How are wisdom teeth extracted?
Wisdom teeth are generally removed surgically. In most cases, the procedure takes less than an hour and you can go home the very same day. Like any surgical procedure, wisdom tooth extractions can be intimidating for patients. But that doesn’t have to be the case. At Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles, we offer safe and effective wisdom tooth extraction by utilizing state-of-the-art technology and proven dental techniques to ensure that removal is as quick and comfortable as possible.
We implement Itero Digital Imaging. By using this 3D imaging technology, it allows you to be fully immersed in the planning process so you and your dentist can determine the best treatment. We’re also known for our high-quality Computer-Aided Local Anesthesia Administration, which significantly simplifies and optimizes anesthesia so that you won’t feel any pain during the extraction.
We also offer a wide range of sedation options to suit each individual patient and their needs. From general anesthesia to nitrous oxide, to oral sedation, to twilight sedation, this wide range of options allows you and your dentist to decide what form of anesthesia works best for you.
What is recovery like?
Many people worry about wisdom tooth removal because they’ve heard stories about long and painful recovery processes. So what is recovery really like after extraction? While it’s normal to experience some tenderness or discomfort soon after surgery, we at Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles have perfected the removal process so that your recovery is quick and as comfortable as possible.
Your comfort is our top priority and our compassionate team is ready to help you with any fears or anxieties you may be experiencing. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious about your wisdom teeth extraction, let us know so that we can make adjustments to make the process as stress-free as possible.
Common questions people have about wisdom teeth
As a team of experienced dentists, we’re heard every question in the book from patients about their wisdom teeth. Everyone deserves to have their questions answered by a trusted healthcare professional. Here are just a few of the most common questions we’ve been asked by patients.
Why do wisdom teeth come in so late?
Wisdom teeth get their name primarily due to the fact that most people are older (and therefore wiser) when they come in. But why do these molars grow so much later in life than our other teeth? Simply put, our jaws need to develop properly first in order to accommodate the extra teeth.
Once we reach our late teens and early twenties, our jaws grow in size and strength. But as we mentioned previously, due to our evolving dietary needs, even adult jaws are often unable to accommodate wisdom teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth hurt more at night?
As their wisdom teeth become more prominent, a lot of patients experience sensitivity or pain, and many people have noticed that this discomfort is particularly noticeable at night. The reason for this is actually fairly simple, and it comes down to the position we sleep in. When we lie down for extended periods of time, it causes blood to flow toward our heads. This pressure puts strain on the sensitive spots in our mouths, causing increased discomfort.
Are there benefits to keeping wisdom teeth?
When it comes to removing your wisdom teeth, the benefits and disadvantages are unique to each individual person. If your wisdom teeth are impacted or are causing any notable issues, then any advantages to keeping them are negligible. However, if they’re healthy and otherwise unobtrusive, there are a number of benefits to keeping them.
For example, you won’t have to deal with getting them removed. While we have made the process much simpler, most people wouldn’t consider any type of surgical procedure to be a fun time. Additionally, if you have all of your teeth, your bite is likely strong enough to tolerate stimuli and may be less vulnerable to damage in the future.