Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt in the human mouth. Individuals commonly experience the growth of wisdom teeth at the age of 17 to 21 years. Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend the removal of wisdom teeth to prevent complications or to treat an infection.
Read on to learn more about wisdom teeth.
Significance of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth were of great importance to our distant ancestors who ate diets that comprised rougher foods such as reed plants and uncooked meat. As teeth fell out or wore down, wisdom teeth served as replacements.
Today, these replacement teeth aren’t necessary, thanks to softer diets and advanced oral hygiene practices. This easier diet doesn’t stop them from growing, however, making our mouths struggle to accommodate 32 teeth. Keep in mind that our mouths can only handle 28 teeth comfortably.
Wisdom Teeth Problems
Wisdom teeth can result in problems if there is insufficient room for them, or if they erupt in the wrong position. You may hear your dentist say that your wisdom teeth are impacted, which means your teeth are trapped in the jaw or under the gums.
Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Red and swelling of gums
- Bad breath
If left untreated, this condition can lead to cysts, gum diseases, damage to adjacent teeth, tooth decay, and tumors. Your dentist may recommend extraction of wisdom teeth as part of treating these issues. However, before he makes the final decision, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth, including taking an X-ray. Then he will discuss the most appropriate treatment option with you.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Getting a wisdom tooth extracted is not easy. Getting all the four of them pulled is even more frustrating. However, if wisdom teeth pose a danger to your dental health, it is best to have them extracted as soon as possible.
Many dentists will advise you to have them extracted early when the roots are still young to promote a more comfortable and quicker recovery.