PUTTING THE “WISDOM” IN WISDOM TEETH

Wisdom teeth are rear molars that developed their name due to the fact that they are usually the last teeth to come through the gums. This usually occurs when people are in their late teens, twenties or even older.

These days wisdom teeth serve little purpose and are often “impacted” (wedged in) as there is insufficient space in our jaw to accommodate these last molar teeth. This is because as mankind has evolved, so have our eating habits.

Hundreds of years ago our diet consisted of food that was coarse and difficult to break down, so our jaws had to work harder and thus developed into large bone. We also lost teeth at an earlier age due to decay and this often created enough room for our third molars. However due to changes in our diet and modern dentistry, we now generally don’t have enough room for our wisdom teeth causing them to often become impacted.

Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Not all wisdom teeth have to be removed. Usually the decision to recommend extraction of wisdom teeth is made when there are symptoms (inflamed gum, swelling, pain), pathology (e.g a cyst) or if a wisdom tooth is partially erupted – that means when part of the crown of the tooth has come through the gum, but not all of it. This is because partially erupted wisdom teeth are non-functional but very difficult to keep clean, which often leads to gum inflammation or decay. The decision to recommend having your wisdom teeth removed will be assessed by an examination and x-ray, though ultimately this decision is yours.

What age should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

In most cases wisdom teeth that need removal are best extracted at an early age, usually in one’s late teens or early twenties. This is because the procedure becomes far more complicated if a person waits until later in life, as the roots of these molars become fully formed, the surrounding bone becomes denser and recovery time is longer.

Like all forms of surgery, wisdom teeth removal contains risks that will be discussed by your dentist. An x-ray (OPG) will be required to determine the degree of these risks. However it should be remembered that removal of wisdom teeth are very common procedures.
We are able to offer wisdom teeth removal at your local clinic.