Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the very back of your mouth. They are large and they are the last of your adult teeth to grow in. They typically appear in your late teens to early twenties. Wisdom teeth are often removed after they grow in, for a variety of reasons. 

 

They can crowd your other teeth, cause infections and even not grow in fully. However, there are also many people who choose not to remove these teeth, and even some who never have them grow in at all. 

 

Let’s explore the role of wisdom teeth and dive deeper into why so many people get them removed. You will be able to make a better decision about whether or not to remove your own wisdom teeth, but we always suggest you consult with a dental professional before making such a big decision.

 

A Brief History of Wisdom Teeth 

 

Wisdom teeth are a type of vestigial structure. This means that from an evolutionary standpoint, they once served a purpose for our human ancestors, but are no longer useful today. Another example of a vestigial structure is the appendix. 

 

Wisdom teeth were used by our ancestors to chew and break down tough foods such as roots and grains. Their large, molar-like shape made them ideal for grinding and compressing foods that would be difficult for the body to digest otherwise. 

 

They served a significant purpose and prevented our ancestors from choking and proverbially ‘biting off more than they could chew.’ 

 

This all changed however with the invention of refined and processed grains. As soon as humans invented tools to grind grains and fibrous foods into more palatable forms, the wisdom teeth became less of a necessity and more of a hindrance. 

 

As humans have evolved further, we no longer forage for rough roots and unrefined grains, in fact most grains we know today have been farmed. As a result, wisdom teeth are now vestigial and in modern humans, up to 35% of the population is born without ever forming wisdom teeth at all. Our jaws have also become smaller, and do not easily accommodate these four, large teeth of the past. This can lead to infections and additional problems that often require wisdom teeth removal

 

Why Do Dentists Remove Wisdom Teeth? 

To Prevent Infection 

Often, your wisdom teeth do not necessarily need to be removed right away, however, they are removed as a preventative measure in order to prevent future infections. 

 

Wisdom teeth are situated very far back in the mouth, and this makes them difficult to clean with a regular toothbrush and floss. Often, bacteria can build up in these areas as a result. If the tooth is partially erupted (i.e. not fully emerged from the gums) they can trap and hold food under the gums as well. 

 

This leads to painful infections, inflammation and abscesses. Preventative wisdom teeth removal is done in order to keep this from happening to patients in the future. 

To Prevent Crowding of the Teeth 

 

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to grow in, and they appear once all of your adult teeth are fully in place. 

 

Wisdom teeth are also the largest of all adult teeth, which means that there is often not enough room for them in your mouth. As a result, when they grow, they will push against your other adult teeth. This can lead to crooked teeth and a misaligned bite. 

 

This is not ideal, especially for patients who have had orthodontic work to correct teeth alignment and bite in their teens. 

 

That is why wisdom teeth are generally removed in the teen and early adult years, in order to keep them from fully growing in and pushing your other teeth out of alignment. 

wisdom teeth

To Prevent Partially Erupted Teeth 

 

As mentioned above, there is often not enough room for wisdom teeth to fully grow into your mouth. This can also cause a ‘partial eruption.’ This happens when the wisdom tooth grows in along the jawline but does not fully emerge through the gums. This leaves part of the tooth partially covered by your gum tissue. 

 

This creates a dangerous breeding ground for bacteria to gather, as it can be very hard to clean the areas that are not fully erupted. Depending on how severe the case is, your dentist may suggest wisdom tooth extraction. 

 

However, if the tooth is almost completely erupted, your dentist may simply be able to remove the excess gum tissue around your wisdom teeth so they become fully erupted and easier to clean. 

wisdom teeth

Prevent Wisdom Tooth Impaction 

Sometimes, again, due to the lack of space in the modern human jawline, wisdom teeth may grow in, out of alignment. They can even grow sideways and push directly against your other teeth. When this happens it is called wisdom tooth impaction. 

 

In this case, the tooth may be partially visible from under the gumline, or it may be fully hidden under the gums. A dental x-ray can help to identify patients with wisdom tooth impaction. Wisdom tooth removal is often recommended in these cases. 

Dental Emergencies 

If your wisdom teeth become infected or form an abscess due to infection, your dentist will most often suggest they be removed. 

 

This promotes fast healing and it also ensures the situation will not happen again. Depending on the amount of wisdom teeth that are infected, your dentist may suggest removing all 4, or just the infected tooth. 

Do I Have to Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed? 

 

The only instance where you might have to have your wisdom teeth removed is in the case of severe infection or pain. 

 

In most cases, you should be fine to keep your wisdom teeth if they are: 

 

 

Many patients do end up keeping their wisdom teeth, and, when they are healthy and fully grow-in properly, there is often nothing wrong with that. 

 

Due to the fact that they are difficult to clean, keeping wisdom teeth can leave you more vulnerable to them eventually becoming infected however. 

Visit Poco Comfort Dentistry in Coquitlam, BC

 

If you are considering wisdom teeth removal, it’s best to get a professional opinion for your specific situation. The dentists at Poco Comfort Dentistry are here to help you make a more informed decision. 

Our team can take x-rays of your bite and see how your wisdom teeth have grown in so far. We can then give you a better idea of whether or not you should keep them or have them removed. Contact us to book your appointment today.

There are so many benefits to having your wisdom teeth removed. Improved oral health, a straighter smile and future prevention are all key reasons why many of our patients choose to get their wisdom teeth removed. 

 

If you are looking into wisdom teeth removal surgery, it’s important to know the details of the procedure, as well as how to have a safe recovery. 

 

Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly large surgery. Whether you are having one of your wisdom teeth removed, or all four, it’s best to know what to expect ahead of time. Let’s explore the procedure itself, as well as healing time and aftercare procedures. 

wisdom teeth

Wisdom Tooth Removal Process 

 

Your dentist will go over the procedure with you in-depth, so you will know exactly what to do on the day of your surgery. 

 

Typically, this procedure only requires local anesthesia but in some more rare cases, general anesthesia is used. This means that on the day of your surgery, you will need a friend or family member to drive you. It’s also important to avoid eating or drinking 6h before the surgery. 

 

Wisdom teeth removal is a day surgery and only takes 30-60 minutes. However, we suggest taking the day off, as rest will be important for your recovery. 

 

During the surgery, your dentist will carefully remove each tooth. In some cases, because wisdom teeth are so large, they have to be removed in parts. When this happens your dentist will break the tooth into 4 parts and remove each segment. 

 

Your comfort is most important during your surgery. Our dedicated team will ensure you feel relaxed and safe for the entire time. 

 

Healing 

After your treatment, it’s important to rest and let your body heal. Once the anesthetic numbness wears off, you will experience swelling and pain, which is normal post-operation. 

 

The healing time for wisdom teeth removal usually takes a minimum of two weeks. During the first 2-3 days you will notice some swelling in your gums and cheeks. After 7 days your dentist will see you again to remove your stitches. 

 

Throughout days 7-14 you may have some mild bruising and swelling still but any jaw stiffness and pain should subside. If you have not noticed considerable improvement after two weeks, it’s important to check in with your dentist and let them know your existing symptoms. 

 

Aftercare 

What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery 

The first few days after your surgery, you may not feel particularly hungry, but it is still important to eat nutritious foods to help you recover. With the stitches and swelling, you will need to stay on a liquid diet for the first 2-3 days. 

 

This gives your gum tissue some time to heal and it prevents food from getting into the wound. Also note that it is best to avoid any hot foods such as soups. These can cause bleeding around the recovery gum tissue and you also risk burning your mouth. Wait for hot foods to become room temperature before eating them. 

 

Here are some options for meals during the first few days after wisdom tooth extraction: 

 

 

After the first few days you can start to re-introduce more solid foods to your diet. These include: 

 

 

After a minimum of seven days, you can start to return to your normal diet, but you are still recovering so it’s best to avoid hard or crunchy foods for at least 2 weeks. 

Manage Pain After Wisdom Teeth Removal 

Depending on the amount of teeth you had removed, as well as how extensive your surgery was, your dentist may or may not prescribe pain relievers after your surgery. 

 

In most cases, you can manage pain and swelling yourself by taking over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen. 

 

Another excellent way to reduce swelling is to apply an ice pack to your jaw and cheek every 20 minutes. This is a fast way to take down swelling without extra medication. 

Signs to Look Out for Post-Surgery

Mild to moderate swelling is normal after wisdom teeth extraction, and mild pain and bleeding is also common. However, if you experience additional symptoms or excessive pain, it could be a sign that something is wrong. 

Here is what you need to look out for while you are recovering. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your dentist immediately for emergency care. 

These symptoms are very rare and they do not happen in most cases, but it’s good to be aware of them so that you know what to do in these situations after surgery. 

Contact Poco Comfort Dental for Wisdom Tooth Removal 

Our dedicated team has over 30 years of industry experience performing wisdom teeth removal surgeries in Port Coquitlam, BC. 

 

We use advanced technology and extraction techniques to ensure you have a safe and comfortable experience before, during and after your procedure. 

 

If you are looking to have your wisdom teeth removed, contact us today to book your initial consultation. Our dentists can help to answer any additional questions you may have about the surgery. 

Regular dental visits are essential for maintaining your oral health. Not only that, but they are an excellent preventative measure, to catch problems early and treat them before they become worse. Avoiding dental check-ups can end up costing you far more in the long run than the cost of a simple check-up. Let’s explore the cost of avoiding regular visits to the dentist. 

Why Are Dental Visits Important? 

You may be thinking ‘I brush and floss my teeth daily, I don’t need to visit the dentist.’ However, this could not be further from the truth. On top of brushing and flossing your teeth 2-3 times a day, it is recommended that you visit the dentist bi-annually, or twice a year in order to maintain optimal oral health. 

Your trip to the dentist ensures your teeth and gums are healthy and free of costly problems. There are two key parts to your dental visit. The first involves thoroughly cleaning your teeth and the second is a detailed oral examination. During your dental visit, your dentist will clean your teeth and rid them of harmful plaques and tartar. This is called scaling and involves scraping the teeth gently to remove the build-up of plaque. 

This cannot be removed simply by brushing and flossing regularly and when left un-cleaned, they can build up and cause diseases such as gingivitis or gum disease. 

In the examination portion of your visit, your dentist will then check for cavities and they may also perform x-rays if cavities are suspected. Your tongue, gum tissue and the lymph nodes in and around your neck will also be examined in order to screen for infection, as well as oral cancer. 

Your dental visit will end with a fluoride treatment, which helps to keep your tooth enamel strong and healthy. 

The average dental check-up lasts no more than an hour. It is a quick and efficient check-in but the long-term benefits are remarkable. 

The Cost of Skipping Dental Visits

Often, patients avoid going to the dentist because of the cost involved. It may seem like an unnecessary expense when you are in good oral health, however, if you neglect your oral health care, you can end up spending much more on dental expenses later on. 

There are many health risks associated with not going to the dentist. It costs much more to avoid the dentist in the long run because poor oral health can affect the health of both your mouth and your entire body. 

Common health risks include: 

Losing Teeth

Whether it’s due to an infection or lack of care, tooth loss can occur when you do not frequently visit the dentist. Tooth loss can happen to anyone and it is not something to be ashamed of. Sometimes it cannot be prevented, for example, tooth loss due to an accident. However, many forms of tooth loss can be prevented with a simple visit to the dentist. The cost of replacing a tooth is far higher than the cost of a bi-annual cleaning.

Root Canals 

One of the most painful types of oral infections are root canals. Root canal infections occur when bacteria gets into the root of the tooth. They are often the result of untreated cavities and most often require emergency surgery to repair. 

Cavities 

Cavities or tooth decay occur when bacteria is able to attack your teeth and get past the protective outer layer of tooth enamel. Your mouth is filled with bacteria and when your teeth are not properly cleaned, bacteria stay on your teeth and weaken them. They produce certain acids which demineralize your teeth and cause holes to form, leaving them susceptible to decay. Cavities can be painful and they will require removal and fillings by a dental professional. When they are caught early, your tooth can be preserved. When left untreated, cavities will form root canals and can lead to tooth loss. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease is a common side effect of poor oral health. It often starts as gingivitis and is most often caused by the buildup of harmful plaques and tartar around the teeth and gums. This irritates the gums, making them tender and inflamed. Gum disease is closely linked to heart disease, as bacteria from your mouth can infiltrate your gums and enter your bloodstream, going directly to your heart. Gum disease can be easily prevented by frequent visits to the dentist, it can also be treated fully when caught early. 

Oral Cancer 

During regular dental visits your dentist will screen your throat and gums for signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Often, early signs of oral cancer go undetected with no symptoms and they require an experienced professional to identify and diagnose the problem. 

Financing Your Dental Care 

Dental insurance plans are an excellent way to ensure the cost of your dental care is covered or partially covered. Most dental plans cover the cost of bi-annual cleanings, as well as some of the cost for additional procedures such as emergency care. 

At PoCo Dental we offer direct billing for insurance for your convenience. Each insurance plan offers different types of coverage so it’s important for you to understand what your coverage is. However, it’s likely your dental insurance will cover or partially cover the cost of preventative examinations and cleanings. This means it’s more cost-effective for you to visit your dentist for bi-annual appointments rather than risk the cost of long-term, serious health problems, caused by poor oral health. 

Visit PoCo Dental for a General Cleaning 

At PoCo Dental we offer affordable dental care for you and your family. Our friendly staff and welcoming clinic will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable, even if this is your first visit. Our team of qualified dentists and dental hygiene experts will thoroughly clean and examine your teeth. We will help to answer any questions you may have about your oral health needs. Contact us to book your appointment and take the first step to long-term oral health. 

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