Approximately 90% of people don’t have room in their mouths for wisdom teeth. Despite this fact, wisdom teeth start to form at about the age of 10 years, typically emerging between the ages of 17 and 25 years of age. Wisdom teeth are a third and final set of molars that helped our ancestors eat foods like roots and raw meat which required a lot of chewing force. So-called because these teeth erupt at a time in a person’s life when they reach maturity and develop a certain level of wisdom, these teeth often bring a lot of health-related issues with them.
The modern diet is made up of softer foods and utensils that make chewing less laborious. As a result, wisdom teeth have become somewhat redundant and we often recommend that they’re removed as soon as possible. Evolutionary biologists view wisdom teeth as vestigial organs that no longer serve a real function in the body. At Green Tree Dental, our goal is to maintain our patient’s overall health as well as the well-being of the oral environment as a whole and often, this means removing wisdom teeth early.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, but some people have more or less. It’s possible for some people to never get wisdom teeth. These lucky individuals don’t have to worry about the dental problems that tend to come with the emergence of these unnecessary molars. At Green Tree Dental, we see a lot of patients who have crowding as a result of the misalignment of wisdom teeth and we also see a lot of impactions that can lead to dental infections, damage to other teeth, and changes in the patient’s bite alignment.
When wisdom teeth1 break through the gum line, bacterial growth can cause the development of an infection, ulcerations of the gum, and the decay of other teeth. Impactions can cause pain and inflammation and it’s always a good idea to avoid the development of these problems by getting the wisdom teeth removed early in order to avoid these problems. At Green Tree Dental, we always recommend that patients get wisdom teeth removed early in order to avoid issues such as impactions.
Mitigate the Risk of Cavities
Wisdom teeth are prone to cavities because their location in the very back of the mouth makes them hard to reach. When cavities develop, they’re similarly hard to reach and difficult to treat. By removing the wisdom teeth early, patients need not worry about the development of cavities in this extra set of molars.
When wisdom teeth are left in the mouth too long, adjacent teeth may suffer the development of cavities as a result of swollen gum tissues and the development of soft-tissue inflammation where bacteria can grow that leads to cavities. Patients who get these teeth removed early rarely see the development of cavities in adjacent teeth which is a compelling reason to remove them as soon as possible.
At Green Tree Dental, one of the issues we often see in patients who wait too long to extract their wisdom teeth is crowding of straight teeth. Most of our patients don’t have a large enough arch to accommodate more molars and as a result, when the wisdom teeth erupt, the other teeth begin to crowd. Patients who wore braces for several years to correct the misalignment of teeth in their youth may suddenly begin to see their teeth beginning to crowd again when wisdom teeth erupt. If the wisdom teeth are removed early, over-crowding is much less likely to occur.
Over-crowding is an undesirable effect that happens regularly when wisdom teeth erupt, but many patients don’t realize that wisdom teeth can change the dynamics of their bite which can lead to pain and even headaches. When the wisdom teeth are extracted early, at the first sign of eruption, patients don’t have to worry about these issues, but the longer these teeth are left in the mouth, the more likely they’ll cause problems from over-crowding to bite changes.
The wisdom teeth tend to breed bacteria in the mouth and the gums often suffer when extractions are performed too late. By getting rid of the wisdom teeth early before they can cause widespread infection, patients can protect their gums and the rest of their teeth from the ravages of periodontal disease. Our patients are always advised to remove wisdom teeth early in order to protect the integrity and health of the other teeth in the mouth as well as the gum tissues.
Sacs of fluids called “cysts” often develop around emergent wisdom teeth. Though these cysts are often harmless, they can develop into a real problem that damages deeper tissues such as the nerves of the jaw. If you see the development of a cyst around a wisdom tooth, it’s definitely time to make an appointment with your dentist to have the tooth removed.
At Green Tree Dental2, we often see patients who have sinus issues that are directly related to the emergence of wisdom teeth. The roots of the wisdom teeth can push and rub against the sinus cavities and with each passing year, this problem can get worse and worse. Common complaints include sinus pain and chronic congestion. The removal of these teeth early in adulthood can prevent the development of sinus issues that can sometimes last a lifetime.
While some people opt to have their wisdom teeth removed until later in life, this is usually a bad idea because, with each year that passes after these molars erupt, the root system becomes harder and more dense which can lead to difficult, painful, and complex extractions. By promptly extracting wisdom teeth early in young adulthood, patients enjoy much easier extractions and avoid the pain, inflammation, jaw stiffness and general feelings of malaise that often accompany the problematic eruption of wisdom teeth.
The root system of wisdom teeth is softer and not fully developed in young adulthood and as a result, the extraction process is typically much easier and less complex during this time. As time progresses, wisdom teeth develop hard, dense root systems that are integrated more solidly with the jaw bone making extractions in later adulthood much more difficult. The older the patient gets the longer their recovery period will be from a wisdom tooth extraction which is why most patients opt to get their wisdom teeth removed as early as possible.
Patients who wait too long to have their wisdom teeth extracted may experience heavy bleeding or even fractured teeth as a result of extraction surgery. In adulthood, this surgery can also cause a diminished range-of-motion in the jaw which can last from a few days to a lifetime.