Wisdom teeth, which generally erupt in the mouth between the ages of 17 and 25, are the last teeth that erupt in the mouth. The teeth are technically the third molars, but they are referred to as wisdom teeth because they erupt at a later stage in life.
All you need to know about your wisdom teeth
Due to the rough diet that early humans ate, their teeth endured a lot of excessive wear, which resulted in a few missing teeth. Thanks to the missing teeth they had, there was enough room for their wisdom teeth to grow when they reached their teenage years.
These days, people eat softer diets and do not lose their teeth as much as early humans did. This results in their wisdom teeth not having enough room when they erupt, causing crowding of the teeth. The crowding of the teeth prevents the wisdom teeth from erupting properly. This can result in a lot of pain and require an orthodontist’s assistance to fix.
What happens when your wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow?
Wisdom teeth can cause a few problems if they do not have enough room to grow, one of which is erupting in the wrong position. In other instances, they are impacted, which means that they are trapped under the gums or under the jaw.
As wisdom teeth show signs of erupting, the dentist will monitor the patient’s mouth for the following signs:
- The wisdom teeth are not in the right position, which can lead to food getting trapped, giving cavity-causing bacteria room to grow
- The wisdom teeth do not come out properly, which makes it difficult to floss
- The wisdom teeth have partially erupted, causing pain, stiffness of the jaw and swelling
- The wisdom teeth are unable to erupt, causing damage to or crowding of the neighboring teeth
Do wisdom teeth have to be removed?
No, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed if they are not affecting the other teeth negatively or causing crowding in the mouth. However, dentists will recommend extracting wisdom teeth if the teeth do any of the following:
- Cause pain
- Lead to infection
- Damage neighboring teeth
- Lead to tooth decay
- Cause gum disease
- Cause cysts and tumors
If a patient is wearing braces, the dentist will recommend removing the wisdom teeth to prevent the teeth from negatively affecting the treatment.
When should I remove my wisdom teeth?
If the wisdom teeth do not affect the other teeth or cause any problems, they do not have to be removed. However, if they do cause pain and any other problem, they should be removed quickly.
Dentists tend to prefer removing wisdom teeth when the patient is younger because their roots are not fully developed and the surrounding bone is softer. Removing them at an older age is more difficult because the roots are fully developed and there is a risk of nerve damage.
Wisdom teeth provide an extra set of teeth to help with the chewing process. But, in a lot of cases, they are not really needed because there is not enough room in the mouth for them to grow properly. If you have wisdom teeth that are causing you pain and want to get some relief, talk to your dentist to find out how the teeth can be extracted.
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