Why Do Wisdom Teeth Cause So Many Problems?

Why Are our Mouths Such a Poor Fit for our Teeth?

Our wisdom teeth, known as our third set of molars, are a remnant of our ancient past – when the first humans roamed the earth as hunter-gatherers, roasting meat over an open fire. Our jaw bones were bigger back then and easily accommodated 32 teeth. We had a much coarser, high-protein diet, too, so our teeth wore down faster (not to mention the lack of dental care). Wisdom teeth were a welcome addition to our ancestors’ mouths and meant that they would be able to chew meat and live longer.

Main Reasons for Removing Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt (break through the gum tissue). When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. Due to our smaller mouths, wisdom teeth take many positions as they try to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt. They may grow in sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone (known as impacted teeth)

When wisdom teeth erupt partially through the gum, they can cause problems that require removal.

  1. Decay.  Saliva, bacteria and food particles can get trapped around an impacted wisdom tooth and cause it, or the adjacent tooth to decay. The decay is hard to remove, so pain and infection are virtually inevitable.
  2. Pressure on other teeth.  The erupting wisdom tooth creates the pressure of overcrowding on other teeth and lead to erosion of other teeth.
  3.  Gum Infection. Food and bacteria can collect under the gum and cause a local infection which can easily spread to the cheek and neck.
  4. Orthodontic Effects. After parents spend a great deal of time and money on orthodontic work to straighten their children’s teeth, the growth of wisdom teeth can compromise those hard-earned orthodontic results.
  5. Cysts. The soft tissue around an impacted wisdom tooth can be a fertile environment for a cyst to grow. The dangers of a cyst are bone destruction, jaw expansion and damage to nearby teeth. It becomes necessary to remove the tooth and cyst to prevent further bone loss.
  6. Prosthetic Reasons.  To prepare properly for dentures, patients should have any remaining wisdom teeth removed. If left in, a wisdom tooth might later erupt and require a new denture that takes the new shape of the gum.

Early Evaluation and Treatment Is Recommended

Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment in the mid-teenage years by a dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon result in a better outcome for the patient.

No-Obligation Wisdom Tooth Consultation

With an oral examination and x-rays of your mouth, the highly skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeons at our four North Dakota locations can evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth and predict if there are present problems or the potential for future ones.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Our surgeons have the training, licensing and experience to provide various types of anesthesia.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation about wisdom tooth extractions with the oral surgeons at Face and Jaw Surgery Center at one of our four, convenient locations.

Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and North West Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN.

Bismarck, ND

Fargo, ND

Grand Forks, ND

Minot, ND