Wisdom teeth are the last molars to arrive. Quite often, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for them, and they become impacted. If these teeth become impacted, they must be removed, often with oral surgery.
What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do We Have Them?
When children are young, they have baby teeth—also known as deciduous teeth—that are gradually replaced by permanent teeth. The last of these teeth are the wisdom teeth. They arrive in the very back of the mouth and do not directly replace any deciduous teeth. Often, there simply isn’t enough room for them to come in properly. They then become impacted, which means they are trapped against other teeth or against the jawbone. This can lead to infection.
No one is completely sure why we have wisdom teeth, since they almost always need to be removed. One theory is that, in the past, we often lost at least one pair of molars due to poor oral hygiene and wear and tear. The wisdom teeth came in near the beginning of adulthood to replace these lost teeth.
Deciding to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth
If your wisdom teeth are causing discomfort, you should talk to your dentist. Sometimes the teeth push your other teeth out of position, leading to malocclusion, crowding, or both. This can cause your other teeth to ache or even feel loose. If the wisdom teeth become infected, the infection can spread and cause serious problems.
If the wisdom teeth have partially emerged, a regular extraction might be sufficient, but impacted wisdom teeth often require oral surgery for removal. You might require sedation or even general anesthesia during this surgery. After the oral surgery, you’ll need to rest for a day or two and be sure to follow all the aftercare instructions provided by your oral surgeon. This will include eating soft foods for several days, taking any prescription medications as instructed, and being careful to avoid activities that could lead to dry socket, such as using a straw.
Are you or a family member needing wisdom teeth removed? Call the office of Dr. Robert Peak to set up a consultation with our caring team!