Wisdom Teeth: A Guide to Your Third Molars

wisdom teeth removal DallasYou probably know someone who has had his or her wisdom teeth removed. Many people know that wisdom teeth are removed but some folks might wonder why this practice is commonplace. Nearly all dental health professionals recommend the extraction of wisdom teeth because these teeth present a number of health problems such as increased risks for tooth decay and gum disease as well as issues with TMJ function and one’s occlusion. Following is some interesting information on wisdom teeth, why they are removed, and how retaining these teeth can affect your wellbeing.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

“Wisdom teeth” is actually colloquial speech for “third molars”. The reason these teeth became known as “wisdom” teeth is because these teeth emerge during early adulthood. In the past, when medical and dental care was not advanced or widely available, third molars came in handy when second molars were lost to disease. Today, however, the lifespan of our teeth is much greater due to modern dental practices and public oral health knowledge. Since our first and second molars can last well into our advanced years, third molars are not necessary and the emergence of these teeth is actually detrimental to our oral health.  

How many wisdom teeth do people have?

The amount of wisdom teeth a person has depends on genetics. Some people don’t have wisdom teeth at all while others can have up to four of these teeth. It is not out of the ordinary for some people to have one or two wisdom teeth as well.

Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

There are litanies of reasons oral healthcare providers recommend the removal of third molars. First, the emergence of these teeth can affect the placement of other established teeth. Many times, wisdom teeth can cause teeth to shift out of proper alignment into crowded and rotated positions. Third molars are difficult to clean, too because they don’t emerge properly. Since these teeth contribute to increased risks for periodontal disease, dental caries, abscesses, and occlusal problems, their removal can preserve one’s health.

If you have been referred to our practice for wisdom tooth extraction, call us today at Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas to reserve a consultation with our team.