Your third molars, more commonly known as your wisdom teeth because they tend to erupt during late adolescence, aka the “age of wisdom,” are the largest teeth in your smile. Many millennia ago, these teeth served important purposes of processing a diet that was much rougher than the foods we eat now as well as replacing teeth that were more likely to fall out due to overuse or injury.
However, wisdom teeth are often more trouble than they are worth for modern humans. As you are deciding whether to have wisdom teeth removed, it can be helpful to know what issues you might be facing if you leave your wisdom teeth in place, as well as some of the benefits of having them extracted.
Why do wisdom teeth become problematic?
As humans have evolved, our jaws have gotten much smaller than those of our ancient ancestors. Many patients simply do not have enough room in their jaws for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly, and the third molars become impacted as a result.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of problems for patients, including infections, abscesses, cysts, tumors and discomfort, among other issues. However, it’s impossible to predict when such problems may develop. Therefore, many patients opt to have an oral surgeon extract their wisdom teeth as a preventive measure.
Benefits Of Preventive Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Because the wisdom teeth are located at the rear of the jaw, it can be quite challenging to keep the area surrounding them clean and free from oral bacteria. This becomes even more of an issue when the teeth are impacted. Infections that develop in the wisdom teeth can be quite painful, and there is a risk that the bacteria could access the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
Additionally, impacted teeth will continue to try to erupt, and they may push the other teeth out of position as they do so. This process can undo years of orthodontic work and create the need for a second round of braces. This is another compelling reason to have your wisdom teeth extracted.
We are happy to provide any information that you might need as you decide whether to have your wisdom teeth removed. Feel free to call our office at any time to ask questions you may have or to schedule an evaluation and speak to one of our skilled oral surgeons about this procedure.