Tooth extraction is often the last resort in dentistry, reserved only for a tooth that cannot be saved any other way. However, wisdom tooth removal is recommended for many patients because not a lot of people have enough room in their jaws for an extra set of molars.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
An average adult mouth is designed to hold around 28 teeth comfortably but most adults end up with 32 teeth. These additional four teeth are called wisdom teeth, AKA third molars. There are different theories as to why we get these extra molars few of us have room for. One is simply that over the course of history, human jaws have gradually grown smaller.
Another one that has gained traction in recent years is the soft foods theory, which proposes that the processed foods we eat in the modern day has required much less chewing than what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. Because we’re chewing less, we stimulate our jaws less and they don’t grow large enough to accommodate that last set of molars. An increasing number of people don’t even get all four wisdom teeth to begin with, or any at all!
Whatever the cause, if there isn’t enough room for the wisdom teeth, they will likely become blocked or impacted by the other teeth around them. This can become extremely traumatizing for the roots of the neighboring teeth. A partially erupted wisdom tooth provides an easy place for food to become trapped in the tissue surrounding the tooth, which can lead to bacterial growth and possibly serious infection.
Why Early Adulthood Is the Best Age for Wisdom Tooth Removal
The average age for wisdom tooth removal is between 18-24 years old, and there’s a reason for that. By removing wisdom teeth when a patient is a young adult, our dentists are able to prevent potential healing problems. When a person reaches the age of their mid-thirties, there are much higher risks for wisdom teeth removal. The best time to remove wisdom teeth is generally between the ages of fifteen to eighteen years of age.
If you are an adult and need to remove your wisdom teeth, don’t worry. Here at Maple Avenue Family Dentistry, we take extra care to make sure that our adult patients are comfortable and anxiety-free. After a consultation, we will recommend that you continue with your wisdom teeth until intervention is absolutely necessary. When it is necessary to remove your wisdom teeth, the dentist will recommend a simple and pain-free surgery. Your health is our highest concern during any procedure.
Before your procedure, you will meet Dr. Bouffard to go over what to expect for your personal procedure. He will go over any medications you are taking and answer any questions you may have.
The actual wisdom tooth removal procedure takes an average of about 45 minutes. Dr. Bouffard will anesthetize you via the agreed-upon method discussed at your pre-op appointment. This way you will be numb during the procedure and should not feel any pain. At the end of the procedure, Dr. Bouffard will stitch up the area and place gauze to stop any bleeding.
Recovery after Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom tooth removal recovery can take up to two weeks. You can expect a swollen mouth and cheeks. The swelling will be worse the first couple of days and gradually improve. Icing your cheeks and face will help with the swelling, and we recommend eating soft foods like pudding and shakes. Stay away from hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Avoid drinking with a straw to prevent dry sockets.