Wisdom teeth extraction is among the most common surgical procedures in the US, with over 5 million people receiving it yearly. Yet, despite the procedure’s frequency, some individuals are unfamiliar with the reasons for seeking it. Improperly grown or neglected wisdom teeth can cause severe jaw, gum, and tooth pain. For these reasons (and more), oral surgeons and dentists often recommend pulling wisdom teeth.
Waynesboro, VA, families can rely on Hillcrest Dental for comprehensive oral health services. From general check-ups to cosmetic procedures and oral surgery, our services leverage cutting-edge techniques and proven methodologies to deliver outstanding care. Moreover, we make dental health accessible by offering an affordable dental benefits plan. Visit our website or call (434) 973-2224 today to learn more or request a free smile consultation.
Below, we explain what wisdom teeth are and why experts recommend their removal:
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last to grow (erupt) in your mouth. They are further back than any other teeth in your mouth and appear for most of us between the ages of 17 and 25. Most individuals have one in each corner of their upper and lower jaw; however, some people have fewer—or none!—due to evolutionary shifts in jaw size.
Far back in the past, wisdom teeth helped early humans chew the tough foods in their diets. But modern food choices have rendered them less crucial. Indeed, wisdom teeth in the mouths of modern humans may cause more harm than good.
Today, most oral surgeons recommend extracting these unnecessary teeth. This one-time procedure often entails sedation and local anesthesia to reduce discomfort. Even if patients have asymptomatic or unerupted wisdom teeth, some dental specialists may still suggest extraction as prevention.
Reasons for Extraction
Impaction: Without enough space to grow properly, wisdom teeth can become impacted, that is, trapped in the jawbone or gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection if not identified and removed.
Crowding: Wisdom teeth typically erupt years after all other adult teeth. As a result, wisdom teeth can push those healthy, grown-in teeth out of alignment. In addition to the shifting teeth, overcrowding due to wisdom teeth can cause bite problems, making it difficult to chew and speak properly.
Cavities and Gum Disease: Since wisdom teeth lie in the far back corners of our mouths, they are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and floss. This limited access allows plaque and food debris to accumulate, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Long-term consequences of build-up are cavities and gingivitis, which are the early stages of gum disease and tooth decay.
Dentists and Oral Surgeons Now Accepting Waynesboro, VA, Patients!
Wisdom teeth removal is now a standard practice. However, for guidance on whether or not the procedure is necessary for you, speak to a qualified oral surgeon. Waynesboro, VA, individuals and families can turn to Hillcrest Dental for high-quality general dentistry, cosmetic services, and oral surgery care. Schedule a free smile consultation today by calling (434) 973-2224 or visiting our website!