It’s part of the trials of adolescence. Just when you’ve got your acne under control and you finally got those braces off, your dentist springs those 7 words on you, We have to remove your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth really have nothing to do with growing wiser, although your 18-year-old would probably disagree. They often come in perfectly straight and can remain right where they are, growing strong and healthy in your mouth. However, with little room in the back of your mouth, they can be forced to grow sideways, causing them to fail to erupt through the gum tissue and becoming impacted. When this happens, they usually have to go.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to make an appearance and sometimes they like to make a grand entrance with a bit of pain and infection or they come in crooked. There are usually four of them, one behind each of your back molars and they are often referred to as the “third molars”. They begin to grow around age seven and tend to emerge between the ages of 17-22.
Why do we have them?
The reason for our wisdom teeth is up for speculation but most believe that they were replacements for other molars that would begin to wear out due to a rough prehistoric diet. Prehistoric people had larger jaws for tearing meat and shredding course food so they’re teeth would wear out quicker than today. Modern diets are softer than prehistoric ones so we no longer need a larger jaw and we usually keep our teeth so the wisdom teeth have outlived their usefulness.
Because we don’t have larger jaws anymore, when wisdom teeth emerge, there often isn’t enough room for them to grow in properly. Sometimes wisdom teeth are shy and only partially erupt or stay hidden in the gum tissue altogether. In reality, there just isn’t enough room for them to push through. These shy teeth are “impacted” and usually need to be removed. Not having them removed can lead to infection and can cause misalignment and damage to other teeth as they push their way in.
Even if they aren’t impacted and they come in perfectly straight, wisdom teeth can be problematic. Because there’s such little room in the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are difficult to clean thoroughly which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
It is common for adolescents who have braces to have their wisdom teeth removed after they have their braces removed. This is because wisdom teeth can push the other teeth out of alignment when they come in and ruin all the work the braces did straightening the teeth.
Wisdom teeth are usually removed in the late teens and early twenties because the roots have not completely established themselves in the jawbone so they’re easier to remove. They should be removed when they’ve caused damage to a neighboring tooth, have caused infection, have cavities that can’t be repaired, are infected, or impacted.
If they’ve broken through the gum line, wisdom teeth can easily be extracted by your dentist. Depending on the teeth, your dentist may use a local anaesthetic or may opt for sedation. Your dentist may refer you to an oral surgery practice like Oral Facial Surgical Arts for the extraction.
During your recovery, you will be instructed to avoid hard foods, harsh drinks, and suction because they can damage the stitches and cause an infection. Soft foods like soup, smoothies, and shakes are recommended.
Recovery time varies from patient to patient depending on age and overall health and the adherence to the soft food diet but can range anywhere from two weeks to two months.
If you’re experiencing problems with your wisdom teeth or you aren’t sure if they’re coming in straight, Dr. Achong and Dr. Latham can help. With a combined 25 years of experience in the field of oral surgery, they can remove your wisdom teeth easily, with little discomfort to you. Conveniently located in Orlando and Clermont, Oral Facial Surgical Arts provide many services including wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, bone and gum grafting, and facial trauma surgery. Call today at (352)243-5599 (Clermont) or (407)207-8005 (Lake Nona).