About 85% of Americans will need wisdom tooth extraction sometime during their lives. However, while the majority of people need wisdom teeth removal, it’s important to understand that each patient is different. Whether you’ll be able to keep your wisdom teeth will depend on their trajectory and if there’s enough space in your jaw.
Why We Have Wisdom Teeth
The most widely accepted theory behind wisdom teeth asks us to look to the diet of our distant ancestors for answers. Early humans ate a much different diet than the soft foods we eat today.
Our ancestors lived off a diet that consisted of roots, raw meat, and tough plants. To help them grind these tough foods, they developed a third set of molars and larger jaws to accommodate the extra teeth.
Today, humans have smaller jaws and eat much softer foods. However, our genes still produce wisdom teeth that no longer have room to grow.
When wisdom teeth don’t have room to properly emerge through the gum line, they can come in at odd angles or even horizontally. In other words, crooked wisdom teeth can cause a lot of damage to your smile and undo years of orthodontics or cosmetic dental work.
Since humans have much smaller jaws today, there often isn’t enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt. If your dentist discovers an impacted wisdom tooth, they’ll recommend extraction.
Wisdom Tooth Pain
If you have wisdom tooth pain, call our office as soon as possible to schedule emergency dental care. Wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. If your teeth are stuck under your gums (impacted) or coming in at an angle, your dentist will recommend wisdom tooth extraction.
Not everyone needs wisdom teeth removal. If our dentists see that your wisdom teeth are coming in straight and there’s enough room in the jaw, you may be able to keep your third molars. Our dentists’ main concerns are protecting your oral health and the appearance of your smile.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth that are coming in at an angle will push other teeth out of the way to make room in the jaw. The best way to prevent crowding is to remove wisdom teeth before they erupt.
Wisdom teeth surgery can be scheduled once the extra molars are fully formed in the jaw. Impacted wisdom teeth not only undo years of wearing braces or clear aligners, but can increase your risk for infection.
People who have their wisdom teeth removed are able to live normal lives. Since you have eight other molars in your smile, you’ll be able to chew food just fine. We’ll let you know how to care for your smile after wisdom teeth surgery so you can recover quickly.
Candidates for Wisdom Teeth Removal
Each patient is different. For example, a patient may need wisdom tooth extraction if there isn’t enough room in the jaw to accommodate the extra teeth. Another person, on the other hand, may have plenty of space in their jaw.
It’s not uncommon for wisdom teeth to be extracted before they erupt through the gum line. This could be the case if your dentist sees there isn’t enough room in your jaw to accommodate extra teeth.
Preemptive wisdom tooth extraction can also protect smiles from crooked wisdom teeth pushing other teeth out of the way. Impacted wisdom teeth can undo years of orthodontic work if not removed.
We’re able to take x-rays and monitor your wisdom teeth as they form in the jaw. That way, our dentist in Plymouth MI will be able to track the trajectory of your wisdom teeth to determine whether they’ll come through the gum line straight. We also use dental x-rays to determine whether you have enough space in your jaw to accommodate extra teeth.
Don’t ignore wisdom tooth pain. If you suspect a problem with your oral health, call our office as soon as possible. To schedule your appointment with our Plymouth, MI dentist, call Plymouth Dentistry at (734) 459-7110.
This blog post has been updated.