Often referred to as the third molars, wisdom teeth typically begin erupting during a person’s late teens or early twenties. When well-aligned and healthy, these molars were once an essential part of the mouth’s chewing equipment, given their ability to assist in the processing of coarse, crunchy foods such as wild roots, nuts, and uncooked grains.
Throughout the millennia, however, innovations in agricultural technology have made these large molars far less crucial. Moreover, as the human jaw has gradually decreased in size, the average mouth no longer has adequate room to accommodate them.
Because of this, even wisdom teeth that are asymptomatic or don’t seem to be causing any problems or pain can end up being the source of many pervasive and progressive oral health issues. The following are five reasons why countless dental specialists recommend the removal of wisdom teeth as a routine procedure.
1. Impaction and Partial Impaction Can Lead to Infection And Gum Disease
Unfortunately, most wisdom teeth never fully erupt from the gums, an issue known as impaction or partial impaction. Once these teeth have partially broken through, however, they create openings or spaces in which food and other particulates can become trapped. This invariably leads to mouth odors, discomfort, inflammation, and infection, particularly at the gum line.
For many people, cleaning out accumulations of trapped debris from these rearmost teeth is difficult. As bacteria proliferate in these areas, the surrounding tooth structures can develop decay, cavities, and other issues. Over time, the symptoms of impaction only progress until wisdom tooth removal is performed.
2. Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Movement In The Other Teeth
Tooth crowding is a common development following the eruption of the wisdom teeth. With insufficient space in the mouth, these molars can cause all of the other natural tooth structures to move closer together, thereby disrupting the balance and alignment of the bite and making it more difficult to floss and brush properly. This movement can also be responsible for distorting a person’s overall smile aesthetics.
The forced movement of natural adult teeth is usually painful. People can suffer from jaw discomfort, headaches, and other physical symptoms as erupting wisdom teeth reconfigure the alignment of their smiles.
In some instances, the third molars can even result in the formation of tiny cysts and tumors within the jawbone that create extraordinary discomfort. Wisdom tooth eruption is a common cause of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome which frequently requires attention and treatment from a TMJ specialist.
3. Accessing and Cleaning The Wisdom Teeth Is A Constant Challenge
Given their position at the very back of the mouth, the wisdom teeth are incredibly difficult to clean properly, even when they aren’t impacted. Flossing between these teeth and the adjacent second molars requires flexibility, diligence, and skill. This becomes all the more difficult when inflammation, infection, partial impaction, and other challenges exist.
As a result, many wisdom teeth develop cavities or infections within the surrounding soft tissues only very shortly after they’ve broken through. As with all other tooth cavities, caries in these structures can easily spread to other areas.
4. Wisdom Teeth Removal Can Prevent Systemic Infections
It’s becoming a well-known fact that oral health issues can have a major impact on the health of the entire body. As pain, infection, and problems in the mouth become systemic, organs and even entire organ systems can be affected. This is especially true with localized infections at the rear of the mouth where harmful bacteria are constantly swallowed throughout the day and where proper oral care is next to impossible.
As these infections enter the jawbone, significant bone density loss can occur. Once they move into the bloodstream, arterial plaque will increase, systemic inflammation will arise, and the heart, liver, and other organs can become overwhelmed. For many people, wisdom teeth removal is essential for avoiding a vast range of secondary and potentially devastating general health issues.
5. Maintain A Balanced and Beautiful Smile with Wisdom Teeth Removal
The wisdom teeth often erupt shortly after orthodontic tooth alignment treatments are complete. If you’ve spent several years with plastic aligners, ceramic braces, or metal wire braces in place, having the eruption of your wisdom teeth distort your newly aligned smile can be disheartening. If you’ve been gifted with naturally straight teeth and a perfectly aligned bite, the eruption of your wisdom teeth can ultimately create the need for orthodontic treatment.
Tooth shifting is not just an aesthetic issue. Movement in the teeth and an imbalanced bite forces can place undue stress on healthy teeth throughout the mouth. Over time, this can lead to stress fractures and cracks that allow harmful bacteria in.
It can also make proper flossing and other tooth cleaning measures far less effective. To this end, wisdom teeth removal can be absolutely critical for preserving both the aesthetic beauty and the overall health of the smile.
Advanced Wisdom Teeth Removal Options
Given that wisdom teeth removal is an increasingly common procedure, it is also becoming much more routine. Following consultation and assessment, fully erupted wisdom teeth can be extracted just like any other tooth structures.
Patients with wisdom teeth that are fully or partially impacted can have their third molars removed under IV sedation. To limit jawbone disturbance, impacted teeth can even be removed in small sections. Once these treatments are completed, the smile will be stabilized and patients will be less likely to develop gum disease, cavities, localized inflammation, and localized and potentially systemic infections.
If you think it’s time to have your wisdom teeth removed, then it’s important to select a dental professional you can trust. Dr. John Paul Gallardo has a stellar reputation and over 25 years of experience in dentistry. To schedule an appointment at Dr. Gallardo’s Miami office, call 305-547-8687 today.