Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the large, blunt teeth at the very back of the mouth that usually erupt between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. Generally, adults have four wisdom teeth, with one on each side of both the top and bottom of the mouth. A condition referred to as supernumerary teeth can be responsible for the presence of extra wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, like the appendix, are vestigial, meaning that they are an evolutionary trait left over from an early human ancestor. It is theorized that our ancestors had larger, more powerful jaws than modern humans, with more teeth in them. The extra molar was most likely used to grind tough plant matter, breaking down the cellulose of which plant cell walls are comprised. The modern Midwestern human diet is, of course, markedly different from that of our more herbivorous ancestors, and the human jaw evolved correspondingly. Unfortunately, the wisdom tooth remained to wreak havoc on modern mouths.
The Problem with Wisdom Teeth
Because our jaws are, effectively, too small for our wisdom teeth, it is common for wisdom teeth to grow sideways. This condition is referred to as an impacted tooth. If an erupting wisdom tooth is impacted, it can lead to infection and increased risk of dental caries and periodontal disease. The risks associated with impacted wisdom teeth increase with age, so catching the tooth early is of utmost importance. The eruption of wisdom teeth can also lead to overcrowding and misalignment, which in turn cause difficulty chewing and eating and painful inflammation of the gums.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Because of the abundance of wisdom tooth-related oral health issues, wisdom tooth extraction in Minneapolis is both commonplace and affordable. Many dental practices offer free consultation and will extract the tooth over the course of a simple, straightforward surgical procedure. A local anesthetic is applied to the afflicted area and an incision is made into the gum, through which the offending wisdom tooth is removed. Although post-operation effects of the procedure include swelling and difficulty eating, they are infinitely preferable to the lifetime of discomfort dictated by an impacted wisdom tooth.
The remaining teeth, in cases of overcrowding or misalignment, should re-order themselves into a natural array once the wisdom tooth extraction is complete. That said, cases of crooked teeth and crowding have been known to persist even after the removal of an impacted third molar. To combat this, dentists in Minneapolis offer services such as Invisalign, which is a new dental technology. Invisalign is easy to maintain and equally easy to remove, and is close to invisible. As an added bonus, it has no unsightly or uncomfortable metal wires or brackets. After a wisdom tooth extraction, the operating orthodontist ought to know about such treatments as Invisalign and should recommend an appropriate course of action should your teeth remain stubbornly misaligned. You can visit www.twincitiesdental.com or their Facebook page for more information.