Myths and Truth about wisdom teeth: Everything you were afraid to ask the dentist

Wisdom teeth are one of the “sick” topics for many people. We tell you what you should definitely pay attention to by taking up their treatment and diagnosis.

Мифы и правда о зубах мудрости: все, что вы боялись спросить у стоматолога

A 32—tooth smile is far from a ubiquitous phenomenon. Some people have 28 teeth all their lives, while others have third molars – large lateral teeth that are actively used for chewing food — cut through in incomplete composition. Some dentists recommend removing them without waiting for them to start growing, others do not touch them until they hurt. So what are wisdom teeth: an evolutionary safety net or a problem that needs to be solved proactively? Integrative dentist Olga Nikitina helps to understand the issue.  

For what reason do we worry about wisdom teeth?

By the age of 12, most people already have two molars in each quarter of the oral cavity. And behind them, at the edges, an adult may have additional molars — the third. Four wisdom teeth, natural “reinforcement” in case of loss of the listed eight. However, the plan of evolution does not always work and wisdom teeth cause problems. The most common of them is lack of space. The third molars have nowhere to grow, and they come out at the wrong angle, damaging neighboring teeth and gradually changing the slope of the rest. Sometimes they do not break through to the surface, but the gum above them becomes inflamed and swells, which affects the health of the entire oral cavity and general well-being.

Why are there not enough space for 32 teeth?

The jaw of the vast majority of the population does not grow to the size assumed by nature. According to one version, this is due to the peculiarities of the modern diet. Vitamin K2 deficiency does not allow the body to absorb calcium on the scale necessary for the full development of all bone structures, including the jaw. In recent decades, K2 has been removed from the healthiest diets, because it is found only in the meat of animals that feed on grass, and not grain and corn feeds. And the trend for low-fat products only aggravates the situation. In addition, the development of the jaw depends on the texture of the food consumed in childhood. People who are used to chewing hard fruits and vegetables, it is usually more developed than those who grew up on porridge, cream soups and soft bread.

Мифы и правда о зубах мудрости: все, что вы боялись спросить у стоматолога

How do you know if your jaw is compatible with wisdom teeth?

You can assess the situation at home. Take a mirror and count the teeth in the lower and upper row. If the first and second molars are available, feel the area behind them with the pad of your index finger. Did you find a platform on the gum? There is enough space. If the mucosal tissues are gently rounded immediately after the second molars, there is a high probability that the jaw structure does not leave space for wisdom teeth. This method is suitable for self-compilation of the overall picture and approximate forecasts. Of course, for an unambiguous diagnosis and further actions, a dentist’s consultation is needed. 

What are the risks associated with the decision not to remove wisdom teeth?

Some people are born without any third molars at all: they, of course, will never need surgery. If your wisdom teeth have not yet erupted, then a picture of the jaw will help determine their condition. When they erupt perpendicular to the adjacent teeth, then:

  • The bite is shifting;

  • An area is created in which food particles inevitably get stuck ;

  • The process of destruction of both teeth can cause inflammation and infect the adjacent tissues.

What questions should be asked if it is recommended to remove the third molars?

Before making a decision, analyze the situation. Any qualified dentist will provide you with comprehensive information on the following points:

  • Is it necessary to remove all four wisdom teeth or only some of them?

  • What kind of anesthesia can you be offered?

  • What complications can occur during surgery? What is the worst case scenario?

  • How long does the recovery period take? When will you be able to return to work or study?

  • What will happen if the operation is postponed or abandoned?

Мифы и правда о зубах мудрости: все, что вы боялись спросить у стоматолога

How long does it take to recover after the procedure?

On average, the patient returns to normal life after a week. In simple surgical cases, provided there are no complications, the rehabilitation period may take only three to four days. The recovery period depends on:

  • Type of anesthesia: local anesthesia or nitrous oxide allows you to return to normal faster than general anesthesia;

  • Balanced nutrition during recovery;

  • Prevention of a dry well, that is, a side effect that occurs when a blood clot falls out of the tooth extraction site too early.

Many people slow down the recovery process by not following the postoperative protocol. It is very important to keep your head raised during sleep, use a straw for drinking, do not start the usual brushing of teeth too early — a full list of recommendations and restrictions will be provided by the doctor.

Do you need to worry about wisdom teeth personally? 

Only an experienced dentist can give an answer. The main thing is to find a doctor who is trustworthy and not to miss routine checkups, that is, to treat your health responsibly.

Integrative dentist, author of the project “Love your smile”.

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