Wisdom teeth removal is an important part of preventing future dental problems, but the procedure isn’t a walk in the park for many people. Some question why they need to get the last molars removed at all.
For starters, the question is asked: Why do we get wisdom teeth if they just need to be removed? Wisdom teeth are a bit like the appendix, they don’t have a well-understood use, but probably did many thousands of years ago.
“Olden day” (vestigial) organs, such as the appendix or wisdom teeth, are remnants from a time when humans needed them to digest tougher plants and meats. As our diets changed over time, the need for these organs is no longer the same. Some people may go their whole lives without having any problems with their appendix, but when it gets inflamed, it’s got to be removed. Wisdom teeth are a like the appendix in one more way: they’re fine until they’re not. When this is the case, they need to be removed.
Removing or extracting wisdom teeth is, more often than not, a preventative measure to avoid possible complications in the future. If wisdom teeth erupt entirely through the gums and are correctly aligned (meaning they don’t adversely affect neighboring teeth), they may not need to be extracted. Unfortunately, this is uncommon. About 90 percent of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth and an impacted wisdom tooth is like an inflamed appendix. While an impacted wisdom tooth won’t “rupture,” it can cause serious problems.
To prevent problems from impacted teeth, dentists and orthodontists usually recommend removing them before they emerge or grow large roots. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons believe it’s better to remove the wisdom teeth when patients are younger, because the patients recover faster from surgery and the wisdom teeth are less likely to do damage to neighboring teeth.
The prospect of getting your wisdom teeth removed may be scary. But improvements in treatments and extraction techniques make it much easier today than it was even a few years ago. If you’re wondering whether you need to get your wisdom teeth removed, talk to Dr. Stubbs about your options.
He is experienced in wisdom tooth removal, and serves Bountiful and North Salt Lake.