Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth (Third Molars) are the third set of molars that develop behind the second molars. They typically form between the ages of 17 and 25. The wisdom teeth may erupt through the gums (gingiva) sometime in this age range, but in some cases they are not visibly detectable because they remain unerupted or impacted beneath the gingiva. But whether wisdom teeth erupt or remain impacted, there is most often insufficient space to allow proper hygiene for these third molars.
But do you have to have your wisdom teeth removed? Is it alright to leave them in place? Here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth and the reasons for having them extracted.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that you get in your lifetime. They develop in the late teenage years or early 20s. It is thought that the diet of early humans required a longer and wider jaw with more teeth to chew hard foods and uncooked foods like raw meat. It is hypothesized that over the years the human diet has allowed for smaller jaws with fewer teeth. For a fortunate small percent of people, they never develop wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, for most, these additional teeth develop without sufficient space to be of use.
Why Are They Called “Wisdom Teeth”?
The term “wisdom teeth” comes from the fact that they erupt in early adulthood when children transition to adults and gain wisdom or maturity. The exact origin of the term is unknown, but it seems to be common across many cultures.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Human jaws used to be wider to accommodate these large molars, but as humans have evolved our jaws are now smaller. Most people no longer have room for their wisdom teeth, which can cause a variety of problems.
When there is not enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth, they may come in at an angle and push against the second molars. In some cases they won’t come in at all because they are pushed against the roots of the second molars and stuck under the gums, which is referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted or have insufficient space for hygienic eruption, they need to be removed.
What Happens if Wisdom Teeth Are Not Removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth may cause damage to the second molars and the jaw bone if not removed. The roots of the second molars can be resorbed as the wisdom teeth push against them. Wisdom teeth that develop at an angle can push against the second molars and force the adjacent molars out of position, affecting your bite. Most often the malposition and incomplete eruption of the wisdom teeth create hygiene challenges in the back of the mouth that make us susceptible to a number of dental diseases.
Is it Ever a Good Idea to Keep Your Wisdom Teeth?
In some cases, though it is less common, the wisdom teeth come in properly and there is plenty of room for them in the jaw. If your wisdom teeth have fully erupted and are positioned correctly to avoid damage to your other teeth, and they can be cleaned and maintained properly, it is safe to keep them in place. Your oral surgeon can evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for keeping them or removing them. Lack of symptoms does not equal lack of disease. It is recommended that patients over the age of 17 have a consultation to assess their wisdom teeth.
Lucca Oral & Facial Surgery Provides Wisdom Teeth Extraction
If your dentist has recommended that you have your wisdom teeth evaluated. Lucca Oral & Facial Surgery provides this service. We provide a variety of anesthesia and sedation options to make wisdom teeth removal as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Our experienced doctor and novel techniques allow for an easier and faster recovery.
Call 617-300-0345 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.