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Why Do We Extract Wisdom Teeth?

Not all teeth are made the same. In fact, each different shape of tooth has evolved for different uses, whether that be grinding leaf-styled greens or ripping a bite out of your steak sandwich. However, in the process of evolution and our changing eating habits, a set of teeth have become a problem factor for plenty of adults – your wisdom teeth.

The third and last set of molars to develop in your jaws, these teeth were once essential when early humans ate a diet of roots, leaves, and other fibrous foods. With a shift in meals and the invention of utensils, humans simply have outgrown the need for wisdom teeth.

As our needs have changed, so have our jaws. Smaller in comparison to our ancestors, most of us have no room for a third set of molars. This can lead to complications for patients, resulting in pain and what is known as impacted wisdom teeth.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

As mentioned, our diets, facial structures, and technology has changed drastically over the years, resulting in a reduced need for wisdom teeth.

Most patients will have a fully developed jaw between the age of 18 years old, but wisdom teeth won’t likely emerge until 19. This leads to a lack of real estate for your third set of molars to grow in properly.

Nowadays, most young adults won’t even see their wisdom teeth emerge, whether it’s due to other teeth blocking the way or because they are covered by the gums. When this happens, wisdom teeth will be deemed impacted. Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth can be the source of trouble for our patients.

Wisdom teeth under the gums can cause several issues, such as:

  • Crooked and crowded teeth
  • Increased tooth decay or cavities
  • Jaw or gum pain
  • Semi-erupted teeth (Pericoronitis)
  • Cysts under the gums

Dentists like to avoid these complications as much as they can and without the need for wisdom teeth, there aren’t too many reasons to leave them in your mouth. If any of these issues are reported to your dentist, they will most likely recommend wisdom teeth extraction surgery.

Do Wisdom Teeth Always Get Removed?

In some cases, patients may find their wisdom teeth grow in optimally without and health complications. Nevertheless, your dentist will have been monitoring your molars for quite some time, keeping an eye on problems that might arise. If your mouth is large enough and growth in normal, then you might be one of the lucky few to keep their wisdom teeth. However, over time, circumstances might change, which may prompt extraction further on in your life.

Dos and Don’ts of Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Dos

You’ll want to take extra care of your teeth after wisdom teeth removal. After all, it is a surgical procedure and the chance of infection is greatly increased when you don’t take proper care of your teeth and gums.

  • If you have swelling, use an ice pack on your face to reduce the severity.
  • Eat soft foods such as pasta, rice, soups, and pudding.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids.
  • Brush your teeth on starting the second day with a soft bristle brush.
  • Use medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you have a fever, consult your doctor immediately.

Dont’s

While your mouth heals, you will most likely experience pain and swelling. However, during this process, it is necessary that you avoid some frequent mistakes our clients make that extend the recovery time.

It is important to keep the extraction site as clean as possible for the first few weeks after surgery. This may be difficult to clean because of soreness or inflammation, but here are some tips on how you can keep your recovery safe and quick:

  • Don’t rinse your mouth aggressively after surgery.
  • Don’t rinse with sugary drinks, instead use salt water or a mouthwash.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, crumbly food that may aggravate your jaw or teeth.
  • Avoid smoking during the healing process.
  • Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks that promote dental decay.

Want to Know More About Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery?

There is a lot that goes into wisdom tooth extraction and it can get confusing at times trying to understand all the technicalities.

At Applewood Dental, we pride ourselves in offering meaningful dental education to our clients who may be curious or hesitant about a procedure. If you are worried about your wisdom teeth or a family member’s oral health, give us a call and we would happily put your mind at ease.