Facts about Wisdom teeth, myths, and truths
It is well thought that once your teeth are in position that means you are set for life, this is not the case, your mouth is continuously changing.
After the arrival of all your adult teeth the next step is the arrival of your wisdom teeth. We typically see these appear anywhere from the age of 17 onwards. You will mainly hear them called ‘wisdom teeth’ but we also say third molars. The word “wisdom teeth” is used due to you maturing in age when they arrive.
There is a misconception that all wisdom teeth need to be removed because they cause problems. This is not the case; many people have all their wisdom teeth in place without them ever causing a problem. In fact, there are a many myths out there about dental treatments but today we chat about common myths surrounding third molars.
Most of the time the information is passed on from family or friends and this can sometimes be a little mis-leading.
Today we wanted to highlight the facts about all thing’s wisdom tooth…….
Everyone Has Wisdom Teeth?
No, not all people get their wisdom teeth. Some individuals have wisdom teeth underneath their gums that never erupt. Others may have one or two erupt, and some don’t have any at all. None of this means they will cause problems and need to be removed.
It is possible for you to have wisdom teeth and not even realise they are present
Around 35% of the population do not have wisdom teeth.
It is likely your dentist will take radiographs to check if your wisdom teeth are present.
As previously mentioned, it is also often said that once you have wisdom teeth you will likely end up needing to have them removed, this is false information – wisdom teeth don’t always need to come out. Many people believe if they don’t have their wisdom teeth taken out, they’ll cause crowding or become impacted and painful.
It is possible that when wisdom teeth come through, they can cause crowding but it is not always the case.
It is noted that every year around 10 million wisdom teeth are removed around the world from five million people. It is unproven if they all needed to be removed. There is a lot to be said for if it is settled then leave it alone.
When do my wisdom teeth to be taken out?
If you are visiting your dentist every 6 months, it is very likely that your wisdom teeth are being reviewed and checked. So, when an extraction might be necessary.
These reasons will be:-
If the wisdom tooth is in position that can damage other teeth.
Concerns with your jaw
Ongoing gum infections
Decay is present and it is not restorable.
Therefore, it is vital to attend regular check-ups. During these visits your dentist will monitor your mouth for the following signs:
Impacted wisdom teeth forming a cyst near or on the impacted teeth, potentially destroying the bone supporting your teeth or damaging the roots of your neighbouring teeth.
Your wisdom teeth may not come in properly, this can lead to difficulty flossing between your molars and wisdom teeth. Causing decay or gum infections.
Wisdom teeth coming through without enough room, leading to crowding or potential damage to nearby teeth.
Wisdom teeth coming in partially, providing bacteria a way into your gums, creating an opportunity for infection.
We don’t need our wisdom teeth….
This is not true our wisdom teeth perform the same work as your other teeth. They serve a purpose in chewy food and completing or oral set up.
What are the myths surrounding wisdom tooth removal?
There is a risk to all dental treatments. Wisdom tooth extraction is a type of surgery and there are risks to all removing wisdom teeth is a common and safe procedure. Most patients that have their wisdom teeth removed don’t have any complications.
If radiographs show that your wisdom teeth are impacted it is possible long term to see damage to neighbouring teeth, cysts formation and infection can occur in impacted wisdom teeth. If a cyst develops, it can lead to your jaw being affected.
If your extraction is complicated, you may well be referred to a specialist for removal over a high street dentist.
Dr Boji is an experienced oral surgeon who can perform extraction that pose more complications
Do I need to have them removed if I want braces?
It is possible that your wisdom teeth can cause your other teeth to move. Your third molars can cause movement of your other teeth, therefore your dentist may recommend having them removed before you have any orthodontic work done. But orthodontic work can occur without having your wisdom teeth removed.
What should I expect after surgery?
You may have had a more complex extraction so advice can differ, you may or may not have stitches but really it is all the same advice.
Rest as much as possible for the first 24 hours.
Avoid hard foods for the first day or two after your wisdom tooth removal.
Once you can manage semi-soft foods, you can begin eating those as well. Avoid chewy, hard, spicy or hot foods since they can irritate the wound or become stuck in the socket.
We advise not to brush your teeth, spit, use mouthwash or rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours following your extraction, you can brush your teeth after the first 24 hours of your surgery.
24 hours after surgery when you brush and rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water every couple of hours after each meal for about a week.
You may notice some bruising or stiffness in the jaw, this is common and should heal in a few days.
Pain killers will be advised by your dentist, in some cases maybe and antibiotic would be prescribed.
Can I Drink and Smoke?
We will always tell you not to drink or smoke after any tooth extraction, and while many people think their dentists warn against this as a precaution only, drinking and smoking after your wisdom tooth extraction can cause a lot of pain.
Why is it bad to smoke?
Smoking causes a loss in blood flow, after your extraction, clotting forms at the extraction and these clots need to stay intact. If you don’t allow them to heal properly and they become dislodged, it can lead to dry socket — an extremely painful infection. Drinking and smoking increases your risk of dry socket.
Smoking is harmful to your health anyway so across the board we are always advising patients to stop as soon as possible. We are here to be able to help cease the habit.
We hope this helps answers your questions regarding wisdom teeth, as with all things this highlights why it is important to regularly visit the dentist. We work in prevention over cure and seeing your dentist every 6 months with allow them to highlight any concerns and pending issues.
Call 01273 418404 , to book your examination.