Wisdom teeth get their name because when they come in the person is older and hopefully wiser. Well, since they generally come in during the late teenage years, that could be up for debate, but that’s their name just the same.
At Gentle Dental we remove this third set of molars in our teenage patients before they start creating all kinds of havoc with the teeth. Summer is a great time to take care of those pesky wisdom teeth.
What the deal with wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are actually our third set of molars. They are leftovers of our distant caveman aunts and uncles. Back in those days, when there still were glaciers here and there, our diets consisted of leaves, nuts, roots, and some less than Grade A meats. This diet merited lots of chewing and wearing out our teeth more than we do today. Another four molars made sense. To accommodate them, our prehistoric jaws were longer.
Faster forward to today and, short of a few carrots and potatoes, we’re not eating many roots. And our meats are the Black Angus variety and easy to chew. Now our wisdom teeth are no longer necessary.
But they didn’t get the memo, so they continue to descend, erupting usually between the ages of 17 and 25. When they start to come down, our shorter jaws don’t have room for them to join the party. That causes the wisdom teeth to become impacted (blocked) by the other teeth when they come in. Sometimes they come in sideways. Sometimes they partially erupt, creating pockets where bacteria have a heyday. Sometimes they are surrounded by bone.
With very few exceptions, the wisdom teeth need to be extracted. If left in place they will push the other teeth out of alignment, or they will cause even more issues.
We pull them
Many dentists don’t handle wisdom tooth extraction, but at Gentle Dental we do. We have extensive experience removing wisdom teeth, and this saves our patients from having to go to an oral surgeon for the procedure. Also, during the course of your child’s growth, we keep an eye on the wisdom teeth through his or her yearly x-rays. That way, we see them when they begin to descend.
The procedure is simple if the wisdom teeth have fully erupted, but this is rare for all four. Usually at least a couple of the teeth are impacted in some way. This will create some soreness for a few days after the procedure, and this is why summertime is a great time to have your teenager’s wisdom teeth removed. It will be easy for them to recover without worrying about school.