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When you were younger, did you ever try to fit one too many people into the back seat of a car? Maybe three of you could fit comfortably. It’s possible a fourth person could squeeze in, too.
But when that fifth friend crowded into the space, you knew you were in for an uncomfortable ride. There simply was not enough room. If there was any good news, this was probably a short ride.
Your wisdom teeth are like that fifth person. They often won’t fit but force their way into your mouth. This makes you uncomfortable, and it can lead to a variety of problems.
It’s also why Sunrise Dental offers wisdom teeth removal. We don’t want you to suffer, and we don’t want your wisdom teeth ruining your smile or your oral health.
You can contact any of our dentist offices in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, or Cary to learn more about wisdom teeth and if yours should be removed.
Why We Have Wisdom Teeth
Most people will start losing their primary teeth between the ages of 6 and 7. By 12 or 13, most people will have all of their permanent teeth, too. (That’s also why this is a good time for orthodontic treatment.)
Then, your wisdom teeth start to erupt in your late teens or early 20s. Whether you have room for them to fit or not, they will try to come in.
What are these late arrivals? These are your third set of molars, which are the larger, flatter teeth in the back of our mouths. We use these teeth to grind our food into smaller pieces.
Why do we have these teeth? That is not entirely clear. Today, wisdom teeth are considered a vestigial body part, like our tonsils or our appendix.
Scientists have studied our anatomy and compared our mouths with our ancestors. One thing that is clear is that, in general, modern humans have smaller jaws than our ancestors.
One hypothesis is that our ancestors needed this third set of molars because of their diet. They were not eating food that had been processed. The thought is that they were eating raw foods, and the extra molars made it easier to grind and chew that food.
Another hypothesis is that wisdom teeth often replaced other teeth. Our ancient ancestors may not have had dentists, but they still lost teeth. These late-arriving teeth could have helped to replace teeth that had fallen out.
Why Wisdom Teeth Are Removed
If you have enough room for your wisdom teeth to erupt correctly, there isn’t a reason to remove them. Yet, experts estimate that between 75 and 85 percent of people will have their wisdom teeth extracted.
As we mentioned above, our jaws are smaller than our ancestors. Most people simply do not have enough room for one more set of teeth to fit.
So what happens when those teeth try to come in? Many times they can become impacted, and impacted teeth are bad for your mouth.
Instead of coming in vertically, impacted teeth will come in at an angle. As a result, they begin to push into your other teeth. That push can cause your other teeth to become misaligned.
Impacted teeth also have the potential to damage nerves, and they can increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Your wisdom teeth may be fully impacted, which means they remain below the gumline, or partially impacted, which means they break the surface but can’t emerge correctly.
With X-rays and other technology, the dentists at Sunrise Dental often can identify wisdom teeth as they are developing. If we see a potential problem, we can schedule your wisdom teeth removal before you feel the effects of impacted teeth.
Making Extractions Comfortable
You should not feel any pain during the extraction procedure. In addition to local anesthetic to numb your mouth, we can provide oral sedation or nitrous oxide. Either of these will help you relax and prevent you from feeling anything during the extraction.
After your wisdom teeth have been removed, we will advise you on how to care for your mouth as it heals. For example, you should avoid smoking (which is a good idea anyway), using a straw, or touching the exposed area.
Call Today To Schedule An Appointment
The best way to monitor the development of your wisdom teeth is through regular visits to a Sunrise Dental office. This gives our dentists a chance to take X-rays and look for any changes in your alignment.
If you suspect your wisdom teeth are coming in, please make an appointment at any of our dentist offices in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, or Cary as soon as possible.
You would much rather deal with those teeth now than wait and see what happens.