At Henderson Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center we are on hand to give you the highest possible standard of care when it comes to any problems you may have with your oral health. This can include cavities, tooth gaps, impacted teeth, and more. One of the most common issues that we see and help with involves wisdom teeth. Because they arrive so late in life, there is often not enough room in your mouth for them to come in. Consequently, we are able to help with their removal when the time comes for you or your child.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The best way to learn what wisdom teeth are is to get an understanding of the stages where your teeth come in. As you go through babyhood to adolescence, the incisors come first, then your canines, premolars and molars, and, lastly, wisdom teeth. These specifically emerge behind the molars on either side of the upper and lower jaw, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. Sometimes their arrival is no problem, and many people are able to go through the rest of their lives with their wisdom teeth intact and with no additional issue. But for so many other patients, the wisdom teeth only partially emerge, or even stay hidden within the gums.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Problems?
It can seem strange that your body produces teeth that it does not appear to need and that cause ongoing health problems for so many people. The reason is historical and based on how human diets have changed over the generations. Before the modern age, your typical diet was a lot harder on the teeth as our ancestors had no choice but to frequently eat solid foods. Wisdom teeth became very useful for replacing molars that had worn out. But, now that our diets involve softer foods and we are able to take better care of our teeth, the molars no longer wear out, leaving no room for wisdom teeth to come in. Modern jaws are also noticeably smaller than those of early humans, which can exacerbate the problem.
What Can Happen If I Leave My Wisdom Teeth In?
Though it may harmless to let your wisdom teeth remain in the back of your mouth or the gums, there are some consequences for doing so. Because your wisdom teeth will be difficult or impossible to reach and clean, they may develop cavities or infection that you will not be able to stop, and that will be difficult for us to access and help you with. Given that wisdom teeth are often in the wrong place, they create pockets to trap food and bacteria that can affect the health of your entire mouth. Problems such as these can pass over to neighboring teeth, causing you additional pain and complications until the wisdom teeth are removed. What’s more, it is much easier to remove wisdom teeth when you are younger, so waiting on this procedure can make it more expensive and difficult.