Most people dread going to the dentist, much less for something like getting their wisdom teeth extracted. But what exactly are wisdom teeth? Why do they need to be removed? And how does your body help heal itself after wisdom teeth are extracted? These are some common questions that we ask ourselves when we are younger. Most of us need to have our wisdom teeth removed when we are younger. Usually, it is done during our braces treatment when our orthodontist is straightening out our teeth.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth inside our mouth to develop and form. They are located either as the last teeth towards the back of our mouths, or they remain inside our jawbone, and are affectionately known as impacted wisdom teeth. If they are impacted, the level of impaction and their direction determine what they are called. If the wisdom teeth are pointing sideways, they are called horizontal impacted wisdom teeth. Vertically positioned wisdom teeth are known as such, and mesioangular, and distoangular wisdom teeth round off the list. It is believed that wisdom teeth were helpful to our long lost ancestors who had diets that consisted of rougher, tougher foods and needed them to help them chew those foods. Over time, our jaws genetically grew smaller and smaller, these wisdom teeth did not have room to come out so they remained inside our jaw bones. Now, they act, a lot of times, like our appendix, and serve no function in chewing and mastication.
There are some of us who do have enough room, and our wisdom teeth will come through normally and feel like any other tooth inside the mouth. There may be some occasional pain while the teeth are coming through but once the tooth comes in, the pain will stop. These teeth will end up helping in our chewing process, and unless they develop large cavities, they should be monitored closely by your dentist.
Unfortunately for most people, their jaws are not large enough to accommodate the new wisdom teeth coming in. This can lead to impacted wisdom teeth or even infected wisdom teeth. These are strongly encouraged to be removed by an highly skilled dentist.
An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when it is blocked from fully erupting through the gums. This leads the tooth to be at an angle instead or upright. If this happens, it can lead to a variety of additional problems when impacted tooth removal is not done quickly. While it is possible that some impacted teeth cause no pain or problems, some common symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Ear aches
- Gum pain
- Adjacent Tooth Damage
- Pericoronitis (gum disease)
- Bad breath
- Sore Throat
- TMJ DIsorders
Once Your Wisdom Teeth Are Removed, how does your body heal itself?
What happens when your wisdom teeth are removed? Well, simply put, your body heals itself. The key to healing is inflammation, which is why we get swollen a few days after our wisdom teeth are removed. The inflammatory mediators stimulate cellular accumulation in the areas where the wisdom teeth were removed, and help form a blood clot in that area. The blood clot consists of cells that help form new bone and soft tissue. Within the course of 6-8 weeks, your body completely heals itself by replacing your wisdom teeth sites with osseous or bony tissue. The process of the wisdom tooth sockets healing is called primary and secondary intention. If the gum tissue is completely sutured after your surgery, the healing is completed through primary intention. If the sockets are left open, then healing is completed through a process known as secondary intention.
See Also: Wound Healing
Wisdom tooth removal should be scheduled to be removed when they become problematic. You may be fortunate, and have plenty of room for your wisdom teeth to come out, or even have no wisdom teeth at all. But for those who do have them, it’s important to ask your dentist and oral surgeon about wisdom teeth removal. An experienced surgical dentist will be able to address your situation and figure out the best option for removing those troublesome wisdom teeth.
If you find yourself in Houston, and are need to get your wisdom teeth removed, don’t hesitate to contact us at Best Dental: (281) 762-0637.