Wisdom Teeth Edison, NJ
Leave them to the caveman
Wisdom teeth — now there’s a good one. Considering the host of dental problems this third set of molars can cause, “wise” shouldn’t be associated with them in any way. At Gentle Dental we offer wisdom tooth extraction.
What are the wisdom teeth?
Anthropologists actually classify human wisdom teeth as “vestigial organs” — body parts that have become functionless due to evolution. That means wisdom teeth haven’t served as much more than an annoyance since back when we were getting chased around by saber-toothed tigers. Back then, there were two reasons to have a third set of molars. First, our diet consisted of leaves, nuts, roots, and some very tough meat that required greater chewing power and caused greater tooth wear. To accommodate these extra teeth our jaws were longer than they are now.
But as our diets have changed to less roots and more Greek yogurt, evolution has made our wisdom teeth superfluous. Problem is no one told them, and they still try and make their way into our mouth. The sequence of our molars coming in is this: first set erupts around age six, second set around age 12, and the third set erupts between the ages of 17 and 25. In theory, we are “wiser” at that point, hence the name wisdom teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
Like our tailbones or appendix, wisdom teeth are no longer required equipment, but come in they still do. Unfortunately, evolution has shortened our jaws quite a bit and now there isn’t any room. So, when your wisdom teeth try and enter your mouth they usually become impacted, or blocked, by the other teeth. They sometimes come in sideways. Often they come in surrounded by jawbone. Sometimes they partially erupt, creating pockets in the gums where bacteria love to accumulate.
With very, very few exceptions wisdom teeth do not work well with our modern dental alignment so they need to be manually extracted. If left in place, wisdom teeth will invariably cause the other teeth to be pushed out of position and cause other problems.
When is the best time to extract the wisdom teeth
The best time to have the wisdom teeth extracted is when the patient is between the ages of 15 and 18. This is because at this point, the wisdom tooth roots are only two-thirds formed (remember, they can erupt anywhere up to around age 25). The longer you wait, the more likely their removal will be much more difficult.
What is wisdom tooth extraction like?
X-rays will show the descending wisdom teeth, which is another reason to keep your teenager on a schedule of regular twice-yearly professional exams and cleanings. The extraction of the wisdom teeth can be simple, if the teeth have fully erupted, but this is rare. In most cases, the wisdom teeth are impacted in some way. They often need to be broken and taken out in sections to minimize the impact on surrounding gum tissue and the jawbone. This is considered minor surgery.
What are the possible problems with extraction?
The main risk involved with extraction of the wisdom teeth is infection, but diligent maintenance at home, such as rinsing with saltwater solution, can usually prevent this from happening. Dry socket is also a possible complication, where the blot clot that forms after extraction to protect the bone and nerves either becomes dislodged or dissolves, exposing the nerves. This is painful, but easily treated. Dry socket is rare. In the vast majority of wisdom tooth extractions, patients adopt a soft diet, keep the extraction areas clean, and are back to normal in a week or so. There can be some swelling in the first few days, especially if the teeth were impacted.
If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed in New Jersey, contact Gentle Dental Care in Edison at (732) 549-5660. You can also read more about wisdom teeth and our other offered services on Gentle Dental Care’s blog!