Is it time to have your wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth appear in a person’s late teens or early-twenties and they are the third and final set of molars that people develop. Not everyone gets wisdom teeth, but in many cases, for those that do, they can bring complications.

Wisdom teeth, as molars, can be a fine asset when it comes to chewing and grinding of food providing the wisdom teeth grow into the mouth properly aligned. However, in many cases, wisdom teeth don’t grow in this fashion and instead are often misaligned or blocked and require to be removed.

Wisdom teeth are in reality a throwback to our ancestors, who required wisdom teeth to chew on harder, rougher foods than we enjoy today; and as our jaws have evolved over time, wisdom teeth are now no longer necessary and can safely be removed.

The task of removing wisdom teeth is one for an oral surgeon, and there are several reasons why wisdom teeth should be considered for removal, including:

  • The wisdom teeth are blocked from fully entering the mouth by other teeth or the jawbone. This can lead to impaction of the wisdom teeth, which can in turn, damage adjacent teeth and cause discomfort. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can cause the formation of cysts which can attack the jawbone.
  • Wisdom teeth can affect the alignment of other teeth as they grow, and so can alter patient’s biting patterns if not removed.
  • Where wisdom teeth don’t fully develop into the mouth, they can be partly covered by a flap of gum tissue; acting like a bacteria trap, food and other debris can become lodged under the flap which in turn can decay and become infected.

Many people aren’t even aware they have wisdom teeth as they often grow without imparting any discomfort to the patient, and the first time of detection may be through dental x-rays. From x-rays the dentist should be able to gauge the likelihood of the patient experiencing problems with the growth of wisdom teeth.

In most cases, an oral surgeon is likely to recommend the removal of wisdom teeth before they do cause problems, and typically wisdom teeth are removed when the patient is younger.  This is due to the fact that at younger ages, the wisdom teeth are still developing and the teeth’s roots have yet to fuse to the jawbone, thus making extraction easier.

However, as the patient gets older, the roots attach themselves to the bone making removal of wisdom teeth more difficult and increasing the patient’s recovery time after the removal procedure. As a result, it’s often best to get them removed at an early age, as soon as it becomes clear that the patient is developing wisdom teeth.

To learn more and to schedule a consultation in the Upper York Region, contact Ford Moore Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at 905-853-3727 today.