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What Is The Purpose of The Wisdom Teeth?

The wisdom teeth are the 3rd set of molars and the last teeth to erupt into the mouth. They usually come in sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. Today, the wisdom teeth are best known for being extracted. And in some rare cases, this may require emergency dental care. This may cause you to wonder about the purpose of this third set of molars.

In most cases, there is not sufficient room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt into the mouth and become fully functional teeth. However, this has not always been the case. In the past, our diet consisted of very coarse foods as well as a good bit of sediment and sand. Eating this type of diet caused the teeth to wear away, leaving space in the mouth for the wisdom teeth. In addition, many permanent teeth were lost at a young age, also leaving room in the jaw. Lastly, the constant workout required to chew these coarse foods caused the jawbone to develop into a larger bone than it is today.

Today, our diets consist of a lot more soft, processed foods. And, improvements in oral hygiene make early tooth loss more rare. Lastly, our jawbones are not developing as large since they are not required to do the work that they were required to do in the past. For these reasons, in most cases, the wisdom teeth are no longer able to function as they did in the past.

When the wisdom teeth are not able to fully erupt into the mouth and become fully functional teeth that can be properly cleaned and maintained, they need to be extracted. If they are not extracted, they can cause overcrowding in the jaw and can leave spaces for bacteria to form. This can lead to future dental health problems. 

A wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that takes place in a dental or oral surgery office with the use of some type of anesthesia. For this procedure, a local anesthetic, oral sedative medication or I.V. sedation can be used. In some cases where complications may be expected, a wisdom tooth extraction can take place in a hospital setting under general anesthesia.

After a wisdom tooth extraction, NSAIDS or prescription pain medications may be used for relief. For most, the recovery period lasts only a few days. In rare cases, complications may cause the recovery period to last longer.

If you have questions regarding your wisdom teeth, talk to your dentist or oral surgeon today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria

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Based on 85 reviews

Patti B.
I had my first visit, for a routine cleaning. I am very impressed with the ease of scheduling an appointment, the convenience of appointments outside of ""regular"" business hours, the friendly staff and the thoroughness of the examination and cleaning procedure. Dr. Park was careful, compassionate, a good listener, and explained a lot about my teeth and her recommendations to care for my dental health moving forward. I am pleased and I look forward to being a long-term patient! Thanks Green Dental of Alexandria!
Roberto B.
Gold Stars on all fronts. The office is spotless, gives off a great vibe and has quiet soothing classical music playing. The front desk people are very warm and go above and beyond. Televisions are placed above the chairs so you can relax and watch TV while they work away under the hood. Dr. Park is very kind, thorough, and addressed all my concerns and questions.
Sure cleanings hurt a bit, but I actually look forward to them now!
Lauren K.
Best dental experience I've had in a long time. The reception/billing staff was friendly and helpful. The dental hygienists were gentle and knowledgeable. Dr Park was kind, thorough, and answered all of my questions. I'll be back!
Terry A.
Dr. Park has a wonderful manner with her patients! I feel very fortunate to have her as my dentist. Her hygienists and office staff are very competent and kind. I would go nowhere else.
Jennifer B.
I just had my first appointment at Green Dental and I couldn't be happier with their service. I tend to be nervous when going to the dentist, but all of the staff were very welcoming and nice. The exam chair massages your back as you're getting your cleaning and there's a television on the ceiling to distract you from dental work. The cleaning and evaluation was very gentle. Thanks, Green Dental!
Saletta C.
I've been a patient for 3.5 years. Today I got a tooth pulled. I am not proud of that. Dr. Park gave me options today that included allowing her to pull it or go see an Oral Surgeon. There was no way I was leaving her office when I trust her so much. I was nervous but I trust her more than anyone I've ever trusted to complete dental work. I am very found of Dr. Park and how caring and gentle her care is with each patient. I was equally impressed when I walked into her office today. Dr. Park was personally calling a patient just to see how he was doing after a visit. I joked with her about that .... what Dr. calls just to check on you anymore. Very nice. Very much appreciated.
Ranjana S.
I picked this because it was close and was impressed with the polite professionalism I encountered. Loved that I did not have to wait, but also loved the massage chair to relax tired back muscles. I felt the cost of procedures was a little on the high side...
Chantel L.
One of the best dental clinics I've been to thus far. I love the fact that they give an incentive (free tooth whitening) for good dental hygiene and their service is impeccable. I'm happy they actually went over the x-rays and pictures they took of my teeth to give more knowledge of what they look for in x-rays. I'm so happy I found them!
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