Wisdom teeth, clinically known as M3, or the third molar, generally emerge between the ages of 17- to 25. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, although it isn’t uncommon to have more, or less. It is thought that the function of this third molar was to grind plant fibre, and as human diets changed, the human jaw became smaller, which means the wisdom teeth are often extracted.
Positive or negative impact
Wisdom teeth can be beneficial if they are healthy and correctly aligned, but more often than not, they angle inwards or outwards, and this can damage the other healthy teeth, so extraction is usually the best option. The wisdom teeth can become impacted, that is to say, enclosed between soft tissue, and not fully erupted through the gum. Partial eruption allows for bacteria to cause an infection, which is very often the reason for wisdom tooth extraction. If you have a toothache and suspect your wisdom tooth may have to come out, there are emergency dentists at Fremantle Smiles that will diagnose and treat you.
Your dentist may recommend having your wisdom teeth extracted before any problems occur. This is to avoid a painful or complicated removal at a later date, and is very often the best course of action. Wisdom teeth removal is easier with young people, as the roots have not yet fully developed, and the bone is not as dense. The recovery time is usually longer with older people, another reason to have them extracted at an early age.
General oral hygiene
Next time one visits the dentist for a check-up, ask for literature about oral hygiene. Most dental surgeons will be very happy to provide information that will result in healthier teeth and gums in their patients. Brushing is recommended at least three times a day, preferably after meals, and is one basic rule for healthy teeth and gums, so perhaps keep a toothbrush in the car, and maybe in the office drawer. Flossing once a day is also recommended, as this removes stubborn particles of food that invariably survive the brushing process. An established clinic, such as Fremantle Smiles, would be able to advise on healthy eating habits, as well as hygiene practices.
Wisdom tooth extraction
Any tooth removal isn’t a pleasant experience, and wisdom teeth can be difficult to extract. Some people only require a local anesthetic administered in the gums around the tooth to be extracted, and others may wish to have sedative, such as Valium, or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Those that require extra sedation, will also need someone to drive them home.
The recovery time after having a wisdom tooth removed, depends on the severity of the gum damage caused by the extraction. If the tooth was fully erupted, there would be minimal damage, but if the tooth was partially exposed, the surgeon might have to make an incision in the gums.
Wisdom teeth were perhaps necessary in the Stone Age, when people ate raw and unprocessed foods, but with the modern diet of today, they are quite often better removed.