Tens of thousands of years ago the size and shape of human faces was quite different than it is today. Our cranial vaults (skulls) were smaller because our brains were smaller. Our diet was primitive so we needed big jaws, lots of teeth, and strong chewing muscles in our cheeks. There was no problem fitting wisdom teeth into the jaws of pre-modern man. As our brains became larger and our diet became more sophisticated, physical development progressed. Our skulls developed more room to accommodate our big brains. Our jaws and facial muscles lost size as we started eating softer foods and learned to prepare food before eating. The genes controlling the development of the size and shape of our face are different from those controlling the number and size of our teeth. At this point in history these sets of genes are a bit out of synch. Many humans find themselves with 32 teeth that will not quite fit into their jaws. Since wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, they frequently lack the space necessary for proper alignment. There is evidence that wisdom teeth are slowly being eliminated from the gene pool. A number of families have relatives missing one or more wisdom teeth.
Archeological studies show that the skulls of early man had lots of space behind the third molars
The skulls of modern man lack adequate space behind the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Poorly positioned wisdom teeth cause many problems. When they partially erupt through the gums, the opening (pocket) around the tooth traps food debris and allows bacteria to grow. Bad breath is one early result of this problem. Progression of bacterial growth leads to bleeding gums, infection, swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. Scientific studies demonstrate a strong link between dental infections, gum tissue inflammation, and serious systemic problems. The byproducts of inflammation in the gums can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the advancement of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. The presence of poorly positioned wisdom teeth can also cause bone loss and decay around the adjacent tooth, as well as a disruption of the proper alignment of dentition. A rare but serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts develop around an impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. With advance specialty training and experience. Dr. Hooe utilizes minimally invasive techniques to help assure a quick and comfortable healing.
More important than the age of the person, is the stage of development of the wisdom teeth. The best time to have wisdom teeth removed is before the roots have fully developed. Teeth without fully developed roots are smaller and shorter. The surrounding bone is softer. Healing progresses quickly because of the vascular nature of the tissues supporting tooth development.
Removal of poorly positioned wisdom teeth avoids potentially serious problems. As the extraction site heals, the tooth socket fills with solid bone and the overlying gum tissue becomes healthy and strong. Dr. Hooe's minimally invasive surgical techniques result in less disturbance of the surrounding tissues. This promotes rapid and comfortable healing. Early removal of poorly positioned wisdom teeth is recommended because the procedure is easier, complications are fewer, and healing will progress faster and more completely. The removal of wisdom teeth can be performed using local anesthesia, but many patients prefer to have intravenous anesthesia so they can sleep comfortably through the procedure. These options as well as surgical risks will be discussed before your procedure is performed.
This 38 year old shows two serious and common problems in the tooth next to the wisdom tooth:
(1) A deep cavity has formed where the wisdom tooth touches.
(2) Irreversible bone loss has occurred around the roots. The chance of saving this tooth is low,
and any efforts to do so will be costly.
While a wisdom tooth is developing it is surrounded by a layer of soft tissue called a follicle.
The short roots of the developing tooth are also noted. Wisdom teeth in this stage of development are easiest to remove. Complications are fewest, and healing is fastest.
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