General Family Dentist | Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Gladstone, Happy Valley and Portland, OR

Kevin H. Speer, D.D.S.
2250 SE Oak Grove Blvd.
Milwaukie, OR 97267

Mon-Thur
8am–5pm

When Wisdom Teeth Erupt, Wise Patients Learn About Extraction

While we often grow up hearing about people who’ve had to have their wisdom teeth removed, we don’t usually get told that not everyone gets wisdom teeth. This may leave some of us wondering what exactly happens when and if these extra teeth come in, why they need to be removed, and who to see about it when and if that finally occurs. We know that informed patients are comfortable and confident patients, so we’re here to let you in on the secrets surrounding Wisdom Teeth.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Well, we’ve already covered the fact that not everyone gets them, so that likely led you to ask “Why do people get them, and what are they exactly?”. Wisdom teeth are, as best as science can tell, a genetic throwback to the days when we had more rugged plant-life in our diet, including woody herbs and roots, and raw grains. These larger teeth were necessary to crush and grind these food sources into a form our bodies could reasonably digest. Today we don’t need these extra teeth, but our bodies sometimes produce them anyway. Even more surprising it’s possible to get more than one full extra set of teeth, in rare cases patients have had 2 or even three additional sets of teeth behind their molars. That’s 8-12 extra teeth in the mouth!

Why Do They Need To Be Removed?

While our genetic heritage may be trying to grow us extra teeth that we as a species no longer use, that doesn’t change the size of our jaws. This means that our mouths just can’t hold all these extra teeth, and the new teeth try to wedge themselves in in places there isn’t room for them. This can cause all sorts of problems, including pain in the jaw, teeth, and even cracking teeth as they try to bully their way into our mouths.

How Do I Know If I’m Getting My Wisdom Teeth?
There are a few indicators that can let you know if you’re getting your wisdom teeth, and most of it involves a steadily increasing pain. Pain from wisdom teeth can come from a number of sources, including:

• A radiating pain that reaches to the eyes, ears, and head.
• Abscesses can be a sign of wisdom teeth.
• Throbbing pressure in the gums at the rear of your mouth.
• Gums that are swollen or have cuts from unknown sources.
• Headaches and earaches that are persistent.

The one thing that is commonly associated with wisdom teeth that research has shown to be erroneous is teeth becoming misaligned.

Ok, So Who Do I See About My Wisdom Teeth?

This one is simple, and you just have to pick up your phone and make an appointment with your friendly neighborhood dentist. Don’t have one? If you live in the Milwaukie OR area, then give Dr. Kevin H Speer at Oak Grove Dental Center a call. Their team of experts will schedule you an appointment, give you an exam and consultation, and let you know what needs to be done regarding your wisdom teeth.