Wisdom Teeth: Let Them Grow Or Let Them Go?

Sometimes the wisest thing to do for your mouth is to remove some of your teeth.

The most common example of this occurs with your third molars, which you may know by another name, wisdom teeth.

We know from looking at fossils that human mouths are now smaller than many of our ancestors. As a result, many people do not have enough space to allow their wisdom teeth to erupt completely and correctly.

When this happens, your best move is to have those teeth removed. And the best way to monitor your teeth is to visit the dentists at Antoine Dental Center in Houston for regular cleanings and examinations.

Today, we want to take some time to explain why your wisdom teeth can cause problems, and why it may be better to have them removed.

Why Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth got their name because of when they emerge.

Most of your permanent teeth have erupted by the time you are 12 or 13 years old. Your third molars generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 21, when you are presumed to be wiser than you were when your second molars came in.

Today, many people consider wisdom teeth to be a vestigial part of our bodies, like our appendix or our tonsils.

Once upon a time, these part served a purpose in human development, but today you generally only hear about them when they are causing a problem and need to be removed.

In the case of our wisdom teeth, our ancestors ate a much rougher diet than we do today. Our molars, the bigger and flatter teeth in the back of our mouths, are used to grind and chew food. Wisdom teeth provided another surface to grind their food, which meant less wear and tear on each individual tooth.

Our modern diets include a lot of softer foods, which means they are much easier to break down. As a result, we don’t need our wisdom teeth like earlier humans once did.

Space Invaders

Some people are lucky. They have room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth, and those teeth come in cleanly without any issues.

For the rest of us, wisdom teeth cause problems.

If you do not have enough space for your wisdom teeth, then they may become impacted.

Wisdom teeth that are completely impacted may never break the surface of your gums, but they can still create trouble below the surface. These teeth may grow sideways instead, pushing into your other teeth.

This can cause your existing teeth to press into one another and to get pushed out of alignment.

In some cases, an impacted tooth may grow toward a nerve in your jaw instead. This can become truly painful.

Some people don’t experience any pain initially because of an impacted wisdom tooth. The tooth may create a pocket inside your gums, which is the perfect place for bacteria to build plaque and tartar. This may cause gum disease or an infection that could damage your jawbone.

As the name implies, partially impacted teeth erupt part of the way. They can cause similar problems to completely impacted teeth. They can push your other teeth into one another, cause misalignments, create pain, and allow gum disease to develop.

A Wise Move

As long as you continue coming to our office for routine care, we will keep an eye on your tooth development with X-rays and 3D imaging.

If we see a problem developing, we will recommend extracting your wisdom teeth.

Please know that your comfort is important to us throughout your procedure. We will start by numbing the area of your mouth that will be affected. If you prefer, we also offer dental sedation options to make sure you won’t feel and won’t remember any of the procedure.

We may be able to extract your wisdom teeth like any other tooth, but in some cases, we may need to remove your teeth surgically.

After your teeth are removed, it’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions. You may experience some swelling and discomfort in the days after the procedure. As your mouth heals, you will need to avoid brushing near the location of the extracted teeth, avoid using straws, and avoid smoking or using tobacco products.

Be Smart About Your Mouth

Don’t let your wisdom teeth become the cause of long-term oral health problems. Visit Antoine Dental Center for routine care so we can monitor your teeth as they start to come in.

Regular visits with your dentist at our office in Houston could save you from a lifetime of serious problems. To make your next appointment, call 713-364-8990 or fill out our online form.