Wisdom Teeth Removal – Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth removal: What you should expect before a problem arises and to avoid a more complicated surgery.
What are wisdom teeth and why do we have them?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars which are removed from the back of your mouth. They first appear when your permanent set of teeth are completing their development cycle. Normally, you can expect them to appear around the age of 17 to 25, therefore the term, “you are wise by that age”. However, for some of us, they grow in later on in the adulthood, in some cases well past the age of 70!
Have you ever wondered why we have wisdom teeth?
It’s quite likely the development of wisdom teeth were part of the human evolutionary process. Way back when our jawbones were large, wisdom teeth we mainly used to crush and grind up food that was more difficult to eat. Now thousands of years later, human jaws are smaller, more refined, and our pesky wisdom teeth just don’t seem to have adequate room to grow.
Nowadays some of us lucky ones have mutated into a higher species form, being born with no wisdom teeth at all.
Even if you don’t believe in human evolution, there is definitely less need for us to chew tough, stringy, raw or rare meats or other totally unprocessed and wild foraged foods. This past century many folks have been chewing on breads, cereals, other processed foods and finely cut meats. Our wisdom teeth are still growing in despite our softer diet, however, often in the wrong position. Isn’t it strange that some of us already have wisdom teeth growing in when we’re already adults? By this time we already have 28 teeth, and usually our jaws can’t accommodate four more.
Should all wisdom teeth be removed?
If you are pondering this complex dental question and not sure what to do, Westcoast Dental Clinic in Vietnam, will be glad to help you figure out the answer. FYI, we routinely schedule appointments for our patients who are planning to visit Vietnam, for a quick one day stop for wisdom teeth removal.
Every year, millions of people are told by their dentist that their wisdom teeth should be removed. But is it really necessary?
To analyze this common occurrence clearly, let’s break it down into 3 basic, wisdom teeth categories
- Fully grown wisdom teeth with no sign of decay, which function without issue and are positioned well for cleaning, there is no clinical or practical reason to remove them.
- Partially impacted wisdom teeth, where your teeth are situated slightly beneath the gum line. Can trap food under the flap of gum tissue develops, creating a hot bed for bacteria. The sum of which can lead to severe infection and be quite uncomfortable. If this is your case, we advise you to have them removed as soon as possible!
- Impacted wisdom teeth, where your teeth are completely buried below the gum line, keep channels from developing in that area. Which naturally restricts the penetration and accumulation of food debris and bacterial invasion. What is the best course of action if this is the case? Although, there is no channel for food and bacteria to further complicate matters. There is still a small risk of cysts, tumors and damage to adjacent teeth occurring.
On the other hand, there are also potential risks with extracting impacted wisdom teeth, and the option to leave them in must be weighed carefully. If you’ve experienced no specific issues with your impacted wisdom teeth up until the age of 35, the before mentioned risks diminish rapidly thereafter. Therefore, after you passed that tender age, the most prudent action plan is to monitor your teeth with routine cleaning and x-rays.
Let’s look at the discussion for removal:
The wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common dental procedures. In the US alone, approximately 10 million extractions are performed every year. However, there’s a growing debate among experts in the dental community regarding the need for this type of surgery. In many countries including Canada and the US, it is rarely deemed a medical necessity. Therefore people who want the surgery, often have to pay for it themselves instead of it being covered by insurance or by the government.
As previously discussed, not everyone’s wisdom teeth should be extracted, especially if you consider your age, and take into account preexisting medical conditions. If you’re older than 35, the likelihood of you experiencing complications with your wisdom teeth greatly diminishes.
If you have decided to proceed with the extraction procedure, it would be best to have it done as soon as possible. The older we are, the more complicated it gets, the jawbone becomes harder, the roots break easier and the healing process is more intense.
Just like any other surgery, there is always some discomfort and down time. The wisdom teeth removal process has improved significantly, compared with surgical techniques being used ten years ago. Recent advancements in dentistry have provided dentists with many, minimally, invasive techniques. Such as Piezosurgery and other smaller incision procedures, which significantly increase comfort and reduce patient down time. Cone beam CT scanning prior to surgery not only prevents damage to adjacent nerve and sinus structures, but speeds up the surgery process. Having a clearly defined surgical plan and a quick recovery without complications, is important to both you and your dentist!
Extraction of your wisdom teeth is necessary if there is a risk of infection, damage to adjacent teeth or oral hygiene issues. Bad odor, cysts or tumor formation and for orthodontic purposes (crowded teeth prevention), are also valid reasons for removal. Overall, if you are going to do it, don’t choose to do it when it becomes a problem. If you wait until you are 70 and have developed an abscess, you’ll likely have a more difficult time healing than if you were a spring chicken. Unless of course you are one healthy, mature chicken!
As you can tell, the decision to remove your wisdom teeth isn’t always clear. If you’re ever in doubt, feel free to consult with one of our dental experts at the Westcoast International Clinics in Vietnam.