Our prehistoric ancestors had strong, large jaws that helped them chew raw, coarse food. This included using their wisdom teeth that fully developed because at an early age, 6 or 12 years old, our ancestors already lost many of their teeth. This paved the way for their third set of molars to grow with enough space in the oral cavity.
Unfortunately, after thousands of years, changes in our eating habits and oral health have failed to allow our wisdom teeth to grow out into a functional position. As a result, some of us today experience impacted or erupted wisdom teeth.
Detecting Wisdom Teeth Early
In some cases, an impacted or erupted wisdom tooth may cause pain when chewing, limited jaw mobility, and swelling in the back of your oral cavity. However, you may also experience no symptoms at all. This does not mean that you should not worry about it. If not treated right, your impacted wisdom tooth can lead to lesions, infections, damage to adjacent teeth, cysts, and worse, tumors.
On the other hand, if you are not feeling any of the symptoms above, you have a chance of developing gum disease. It is a serious dental condition where plaque and tartar buildup cause your teeth decay and can fall out due to infection. If ignored, it can become life-threatening. In most cases, wisdom teeth need to be removed. If they have grown out without any issues, then it is perfectly fine to leave them.
The best way to know if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed is through a check-up with your dentist. Depending on the expertise of your dentist, he or she may be able to detect erupted wisdom teeth before they get out-of-hand. You may be recommended to a dental surgeon specializing in care, and removal of wisdom teeth.
Removing Wisdom Teeth at the Right Time
As you grow older, the roots of your teeth continue to grow and reposition. By the time you reach the age of 30 and over, the difficulty of removing your wisdom teeth increases. Along with this, the risk of injuring a nerve during wisdom teeth extraction heightens. Recovery after surgery becomes longer as well.
You may opt to get anesthesia or laughing gas for the extraction. Either way, your dentist will still apply local anesthesia on the area where your wisdom teeth will be removed. This is to numb the area, so you will not feel pain. You also need someone to drive you home after the surgery because the sedation will make you feel dazed and confused.
After surgery, you may still feel pain, intermittent bleeding, and puffiness in your cheeks. These are all normal. Your dentist will give you medications for these symptoms.
Extraction of wisdom teeth is common, but this does not mean that you can undergo the same procedure without knowing the complications and risks involved. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Your dentist is your best ally in this endeavor.