At Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, Steve J. Huang, DDS have the expertise you need to address any problems with your oral health. One common issue that he sees involves wisdom teeth and how they can so frequently become impacted, requiring oral surgery. These are the final teeth to emerge and are found on each side of the upper and lower jaws. Because they are the last teeth to grow in, we usually see this happen when a patient is 17 to 24 years old.
Why Wisdom Teeth Are So Commonly Impacted
Though impacted wisdom teeth are seen today as a common problem, it was not always this way. A long time ago, we survived on a diet of nuts, seeds, and plants. Because this diet involved harder foods, wisdom teeth were critical for grinding down through them. This need for additional chewing made the jaw larger, which gave our ancestors plenty of room for the wisdom teeth, or third molars, to emerge without complication.
Unfortunately, ever since humans switched over to a softer cooked food diet, our jaws shrank from adapting, making it harder for our wisdom teeth to work their way out. This can frequently require oral surgery to remove them so that they do not cause you issues for the rest of your life.
Why Do We Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
While it may seem like it would be harmless to let your wisdom teeth stay within your gums, this is not the case. Your wisdom teeth function just like all of your others, which means they too can get abscesses, cysts, and cavities. These problems risk carrying over to adjacent teeth that have successfully emerged. Because the wisdom teeth are impacted and hidden from access, it thus becomes much harder for our dentists to help you with any of these issues without resorting to oral surgery. Wisdom teeth that come out crooked or only partially emerge can also cause problems such as disease and painful crowding. That is why we recommend removing wisdom teeth as soon as possible for the sake of your oral health.
The Symptoms Of Impacted Teeth
One way to gauge if you have impacted wisdom teeth without a dental visit is to determine if you have any of the accompanying symptoms. Usually, these symptoms are tied to the gums on top of your wisdom teeth becoming swollen or infected as the wisdom teeth try and fail to emerge. Localized pain, swelling around the jaw, bleeding gums, jaw ache, and a consistently unpleasant taste while you eat are some of the relevant symptoms that you may notice. You also might suffer from swollen lymph nodes in your neck or stiffness in your jaw.
If any of these symptoms seem familiar, you should give us a call so that our dentists can set you up with a treatment plan and explain to you how the oral surgery to remove them will work.
Do I Need To Remove All Of My Wisdom Teeth?
While removing problematic wisdom teeth is important, not all of them have to go or even appear at all. We have seen some patients get only one or two wisdom teeth while the others never show up. Other patients have their wisdom teeth grow in normally with no impaction or problem, and they can then treat those teeth like any other for the rest of their lives. But, even though your wisdom teeth may not require oral surgery and removal, we still like to keep an eye on them, so they remain decay and disease-free.
If you think that you may have impacted wisdom teeth or would like to learn more about them, call us today at (702)270-2999.