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Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

​​Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are vestigial teeth that were once necessary for our ancestors who had a diet consisting of tougher, coarser foods such as roots, nuts, and raw meat. These teeth were used to grind and chew food, and because of the harsher diet, the jaws of our ancestors were larger and could accommodate these teeth without causing any problems.

Over time, as our diets evolved and became more refined, our jaws have become smaller, and we no longer need wisdom teeth for our dietary needs. However, these teeth continue to develop in most people, and their eruption can cause various problems such as impaction, infection, decay, and damage to adjacent teeth.

Today, many people have their wisdom teeth removed preventively or due to problems caused by their eruption. In some cases, wisdom teeth may not develop at all, or they may erupt without causing any issues.

When should I have my wisdom teeth evaluated?

The timing for wisdom teeth removal depends on various factors, including the individual's age, the position of the teeth, and any symptoms or complications related to the teeth. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Age: Wisdom teeth typically start to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. If the teeth are not causing any problems, it is usually best to wait until the late teenage years to assess whether they need to be removed. Waiting until adulthood can allow the dentist or oral surgeon to better evaluate the position and development of the teeth.

  2. Position of the teeth: Wisdom teeth can grow in various positions, such as horizontally, angled, or partially emerged. If the teeth are impacted or growing in an unusual position, they may need to be removed to prevent complications such as infection or damage to other teeth.

  3. Symptoms or complications: If the wisdom teeth are causing pain, swelling, infection, decay, or other complications, they may need to be removed regardless of the person's age or the position of the teeth.

  4. Preventive removal: In some cases, wisdom teeth may be removed preventively to avoid future problems, especially if the person has a small jaw or crowded teeth.

It is important to have regular dental checkups and X-rays to monitor the growth and position of wisdom teeth. Your dentist or oral surgeon can evaluate your specific situation and recommend the best course of action.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth are usually removed by an oral surgeon or a dentist with specialized training in oral surgery. The procedure typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: The patient is given local anesthesia or sedation to numb the area and reduce pain and anxiety during the procedure.

  2. Incision: The surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth and bone.

  3. Removal of bone: If the tooth is impacted, the surgeon may need to remove some of the surrounding bone to access the tooth.

  4. Tooth removal: The tooth is loosened from its socket and removed using forceps or a dental drill. If the tooth is impacted, it may need to be divided into smaller pieces for easier removal.

  5. Cleaning and stitches: The socket is cleaned and any debris or bone fragments are removed. The surgeon may place stitches to close the incision and promote healing.

  6. Recovery: The patient is given instructions on postoperative care and pain management, including the use of ice packs, medication, and diet restrictions.

The procedure typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the case's complexity. In some cases, the patient may need to return for a follow-up appointment to monitor the healing process.

Before and after orthodontic treatment, Dr. Bloom will take a panoramic x-ray to check the teeth, jaw joints, and wisdom teeth. We only offer superior orthodontic treatment in our office and do not remove wisdom teeth. However, if wisdom tooth extraction is needed, Dr. Bloom will refer you to a local oral surgeon for evaluation. Just another reason why people say Dr. Bloom is the best orthodontist near me.

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