Why Your Wisdom Teeth Are Important To Preventing Sleep Apnea And How Your Dentist Can Help

Traditionally, dentists would remove wisdom teeth because it was assumed that these teeth served no real purpose and often complicated the way a patient chews. At least, that was the conventional wisdom of the time. Here are the modern thoughts on why you should try to keep your wisdom teeth instead of having them surgically extracted (removed).

Wisdom Teeth Help You Keep Your Airway Open

As wisdom teeth erupt, they help your mouth open wider and widen the open space to your throat and airway. They are responsible for helping you breathe better at night when your airway relaxes. Without your wisdom teeth, your mouth adjusts by creating a "downhill" opening to your throat. The downhill effect allows your throat muscles to relax almost completely, blocking your airway entirely. Adults who had their wisdom teeth removed end up on CPAP machines because they can develop an airway obstruction or sleep apnea. If for no other reason than never having to use a sleep apnea machine, keep your wisdom teeth intact.

When Your Wisdom Teeth Are a Problem

Wisdom teeth are some of the largest teeth your mouth will ever have. In fact, many people experience crowding of their teeth once their four furthest-back teeth are fully through. You might think that your dentist will want to remove them at this point, but you could be looking at new braces in order to keep the wisdom teeth instead. The braces your dentist uses in this case widens the distance between each side of your face, creating more room for your teeth and allowing your wisdom teeth enough room. The braces also help your wisdom teeth align with the rest of your teeth instead of tilt in or out of position.

How Some Dentists Help Your Wisdom Teeth Work

There are two camps of thought on the removal of wisdom teeth. The majority of dentists will still remove them, but some dentists refuse to remove them at all. The second camp of dentists will, instead, help your mouth make room, straighten the teeth altogether, and make them more functional. When the teeth might be more painful and bothersome than they are worth, then these dentists will remove one or two, or surgically make the wisdom teeth smaller and then cap them to protect them. To the second group of dentists and oral/maxillofacial surgeons, it is preferential to years of poor health and lack of oxygen (see #2, orthodontics/headgear) at night. Contact a business, such as Eagle Mountain Family Dental, for more information.