Wisdom Teeth Removal Review | Is it Worth It?
Wisdom teeth are third molars, the last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth. They are believed to be “evolutionary relics” and were helpful to our distant ancestors who ate diets that consisted of rougher foods like sticks and reed plants. As teeth wore down or fell out, wisdom teeth provided replacements. Nowadays, with modern advancements in oral hygiene and softer diets, we don’t need these replacement teeth, but they still grow.
More than 5 million Americans suffer from wisdom teeth between 16-25 years of age. 9 of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Most 20-year-olds still have a wisdom tooth that hasn’t erupted. They sometimes don’t fully erupt until you’re in your 30s! But some people don’t grow them. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an estimated 85% of wisdom teeth eventually need to be removed.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
There needs to be more space to grow.
Infections and periodontal disease
Cavities that can’t be treated
Cysts, tumors, or other pathologies
Damaged neighboring teeth
Wisdom teeth removal is a standard oral surgery procedure. It’s often recommended as a preventative measure to protect your other teeth from future problems and preserve your oral health. Recovery is usually quick, and most people can return to normal activities in just a few days. The wisdom tooth extraction takes around 15 minutes and typically takes three days to recover from treatment. The procedure may be performed under local anesthetic or IV sedation. Dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth before roots are fully formed before they have a chance of causing pain, impacting surrounding teeth, and negatively affecting oral health.
It’s common for wisdom teeth to grow at different angles, affecting surrounding teeth and the jaw. The wisdom tooth can be in four different impactions:
Mesial impaction. Your wisdom tooth grows in at an angle towards your other teeth. Its crush on the adjacent molar will cost you some pain, however.
Horizontal impaction. Your wisdom tooth is so lazy that it is laid down. Sadly, for you, its laziness causes pain to the molar beside it so you will need an extraction soon.
Distal impaction. Your wisdom tooth is heading for the back of your mouth. Is it out to get you, or is it just curious? Well. At least it’s not hurting all your other teeth.
Vertical impaction. Your wisdom tooth is wise enough to grow vertically, but he came a bit too close due to bad eyesight and got stuck beside your other molar.
Why wisdom teeth removal?
The wisdom teeth in us imperfect humans are often misaligned or develop pathology and require removal. Misalignment or “malposition” of the wisdom teeth can result in difficulty cleaning the wisdom teeth and the adjacent second molars. But you don’t always have to remove your wisdom teeth! Wisdom teeth may require removal if they don’t emerge properly. If they fit in your mouth correctly, they are not bothering you, they do not develop pathology, and your dentist feels that you can keep them clean, you can probably keep your wisdom teeth.