Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If your dentist has recommended that you have one or all of your wisdom teeth removed, it can seem like an unnecessary procedure if you are not in the throes of any of the uncomfortable symptoms these teeth can cause. So, why do so many dentists recommend that these teeth be removed? Part of the answer lies in our evolution.
Why We Think it’s Wise to Remove Wisdom Teeth
You likely won’t have thought much about wisdom teeth until you are late in your teenage years, though these teeth can make their appearance earlier or later. The wisdom teeth tend to announce their presence with an aching feeling at the back of the mouth, indicating that these evolutionary leftovers are trying to make their way into the dental arch.
It is thought that wisdom teeth were a necessary part of life millennia ago when a large part of the human diet involved chewing dense fibrous plant matter for nutrition. In order to be able to break these plants down, we needed the mashing power offered by these relative giants. Being the largest teeth in the mouth, wisdom teeth offered large surface area with which to break down the toughest plants around. Once we figured out how to cultivate food that was less demanding for us to eat, however, we far preferred this to the hours of chewing required as foragers. Early agriculture quickly evolved and the need for these teeth diminished until they were unnecessary. These days, wisdom teeth often cause more trouble than they’re worth, and since they’re not required for nutrition, they have become redundant.
They Are Too Big
Wisdom teeth are the furthest teeth to the back of your mouth and require a lot of room to be accommodated well by the rest of the mouth. By the time the wisdom teeth begin to erupt, the other adult teeth in the mouth have already established themselves in a manner that accommodates them. The wisdom teeth just throw all of that perfect fit out the window.
The space requirements of these teeth result in a high rate of impaction – that means that there was not sufficient room available for the teeth and they got stuck. How they get stuck, however, can happen a number of ways. There are some wisdom teeth that never actually make it beyond the bone and become permanently stuck in the tissue. If these teeth are tilted or sideways, however, this can cause them to interfere with the roots of the healthy molars next to them.
If the wisdom teeth do manage to make it into the mouth, they often remain covered partially by gum tissue. When this happens, you have a recipe for infection. The tissue that partially covers the teeth acts like a pocket, allowing food and bacteria to slip under it and become trapped there as it breaks down. As this occurs, bacteria start to grow out of control and inflame the tissues around it. Even if you are a diligent tooth brusher, you will be in a constant battle to win the war against infection.
Worried about your Wisdom Teeth?
Book a consultation with our General Dentists if you have any questions or concerns about your wisdom teeth. Please give us a call @ 403-986-8000 or request an appointment online.
Cleaning Wisdom Teeth
Your wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth that they are just too difficult to clean effectively. Over time, even healthy wisdom teeth often fall victim to the effects of decay. With a high rate of infection and decay, your dentist is aware of the risks involved with keeping these teeth. Their large roots often extend upward as far as the sinus cavity and as far downward as the primary nerve along the jaw. This means that infection that occurs in the wisdom teeth has potential to spread to other areas of the body, and not just damage your teeth, gums and jaw bones.
Signs of Infection
Signs of infection often start with pain in the gums that makes it hard to open and close the jaw comfortably. Patients often report a foul taste coming from the back of the mouth that cannot be eliminated with mouthwashes or extra rounds of brushing. Try as you might, the bitter, sour or metallic taste persists – a sign that an infection is present and weeping into the mouth.
Removing wisdom teeth allows you to put the risks and the discomfort associated with them off for good. If you think that your wisdom teeth are beginning to erupt, see your dentist for a digital X-ray to determine what the right solution is for your unique mouth.
If you have questions about this or other services offered, contact our clinic today.