Your third set of molars, more commonly called wisdom teeth, are essentially vestigial structures, a relic from the days when cave-dwelling humans ate tough foods that needed lots of grinding.
Today, we have a softer diet, and we don’t need those teeth to survive. That’s a good thing, because while some people’s wisdom teeth emerge as they should between ages 17-25, many others develop a host of oral health problems stemming from these teeth, requiring extraction.
Is wisdom tooth extraction necessary, especially if yours haven’t even come in yet? At Manteca Dental Care in Manteca, California, Dr. Rick Van Tran and our staff evaluate wisdom teeth on a case-by-case basis, as some can be (or become) problematic while others aren’t. Here’s what our team has to say about wisdom teeth and extractions.
You may have noticed that the molars in the back of your mouth are large compared to your front and canine teeth and premolars. Your wisdom teeth are even larger, and they’re expected to slip comfortably into a mouth with 28 adult teeth already in place.
Dr. Tran can see your molars on an X-ray, so he can tell early on if there’s going to be a space problem. If there is, the best solution is extraction.
Sometimes, especially if your mouth is already crowded, your wisdom teeth may erupt only partially through your gum tissue. This allows food particles to become trapped between your tooth and gum and makes it more difficult for you to brush, floss, and keep the area clear of infection and decay.
And even if your wisdom teeth do erupt completely, they still may not play well with others. They may emerge at an angle to your other teeth or crowd your teeth together. They also might scrape against your cheeks or gums, causing sores. And wisdom teeth can cause pain and uneven wear by pushing against your other, established teeth.
Wisdom teeth tend to create even more problems after you reach the age of 30, for two reasons:
That means if your dentist needs to extract your wisdom teeth and you’re over 30, especially if they also remain impacted in your gum, it can lead to an increased risk of complications from the procedure and a more extended recovery period.
This risk is why some dentists proactively extract wisdom teeth while you’re still young. Not only is the process easier, but it also prevents any potential problem from developing later on.
Are your wisdom teeth painful, or have they never erupted? Our team at Manteca Dental Care can determine whether or not tooth removal is necessary. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Tran, give us a call at 209-823-9218 or book online today.