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4 Things To Know About Wisdom Teeth


If you ever experienced wisdom teeth eruption in your lifetime, you would know it’s maybe one of the most insufferable pains you could ever experience. Wisdom teeth or your third molars usually grow between the ages of 17 and 25. They’re called ‘wisdom teeth’ because they develop at a more mature age.

And while some people have their wisdom teeth emerge without having any issues — perfectly aligning themselves with other teeth behind the second molars, most cases exhibit otherwise. Their mouth gets too crowded for third molars to develop, so they get impacted or trapped under the gums. That’s why they needed to undergo wisdom teeth extractions.

So, here are some things you should know about wisdom teeth:

What Are Wisdom Teeth For?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that grow on both sides of your mouth. According to scientists, they were provisions for our ancestors to help them chew coarse, fibrous foods like roots, meats, nuts, and leaves. It was theorized that, over time, humans’ jaws had been altered due to changes in diet. They are no longer eating tough food, and they use modern tools like utensils to eat. Thus, wisdom teeth are now categorized as a vestigial organ, much like the appendix, because it’s now deemed useless because of evolution.


Why Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

Not all people need their wisdom teeth to be extracted, especially if they’re not causing any problems. Sometimes, there’s no proven benefit to doing so as it carries more risk of having complications.

When wisdom teeth became impacted or hadn’t fully emerged, this is when it can cause many dental problems. It happens when wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to develop normally. Symptoms like jaw pain, red or inflamed gums, bad breath, unpleasant taste in your mouth, and even difficulty opening are exhibited.

Food and microorganisms trapped between the gaps of wisdom teeth can cause a build-up of plaque in the teeth. And these can potentially lead to other complications like:

  • Cyst formation: A wisdom tooth forms in a sac, which can be filled with fluid within the jawbone, and this fluid can harm the other teeth, nerves, and jawbone if not removed immediately. There are some rare cases in which it can develop into a tumor, primarily benign and not malignant.
  • Damage to other teeth: The wisdom teeth may grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth, perpendicular to other teeth, or straight up or down that stay within the jawbone. It can damage the second molar which might develop into an infection when this occurs. Also, the pressure from the wisdom tooth can cause excruciating pain because it’s pushing the second molar. When this happens, orthodontic treatment is required to straighten the teeth.
  • Decay: Wisdom teeth located at the back of the mouth are prone to decay because they are hard to clean. Often, the toothbrush can’t reach this part, so the gaps between the wisdom tooth and gums can trap food particles and certain microorganisms. The formation of plaque is possible which can result in tooth decay if left untreated.
  • Gum Disease: Because it’s hard to clean, pericoronitis, or inflammation of soft tissue over the partially emerged wisdom tooth, can develop. It’s painful and can develop into an infection if not treated immediately.

How Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

If you decide to take out your wisdom tooth because of the pain you’re experiencing, there are two ways your dentist can go about it:

  • Simple Extraction: This method is how other teeth are extracted. They will inject anesthesia to numb your gums, so they can proceed to loosen the tooth with a dental tool called an elevator. Then, they will pull the tooth with forceps. Once the tooth is removed, they will clean out the area and apply gauze to stop the bleeding. You can expect minimal bleeding in the first few days, and it might feel swollen too. Dentists recommend not brushing your teeth within 24 hours and only gargling with warm salted water every two hours for a week.
  • Surgical Extraction: This is necessary if your teeth are from below the gum line. Your dentist would recommend having it removed. They would probably refer you to an oral surgeon, but they routinely perform this procedure. During the operation, they will give you medications to make you sleepy so you won’t feel any pain. Then, they will cut open your gums to remove the tooth bone and remove the root. They might need to cut your tooth into pieces to minimize the size of the hole as much as possible. After the surgery, you might be groggy from the medications, so they might make you rest up in the hospital until you recover. They will also prescribe you over-the-counter drugs or stronger dosages of painkillers to help with the pain.

When Is The Best Time To Have Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

To avoid all the gruesome pain, you’ll experience when your wisdom tooth emerges. Dental experts recommend the extraction procedure must be performed at an early age, usually between 15 to 18. Because this age range is perfect because your recovery rate is higher, and complications may be minimal. Also, it’s relatively easier to remove because they have less developed roots. Most patients have their wisdom teeth extracted after reaching 35, so if you’re one of these people, know that you might have extended healing periods if you stall the procedure. It’s essential to consult your dentist immediately if you experience any form of discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Your mouth can undergo many developmental changes in your lifetime. Thus, milk teeth or temporary teeth usually emerge at a younger age, followed by permanent teeth. Usually, the third molars or most famously known as the wisdom teeth, are the last to develop and erupt. Some people might have no issues when growing out their wisdom teeth, so it’s perfectly fine not to get it extracted. But some who suffer from discomfort or pain, they might do so.

There are many benefits of having your wisdom teeth extracted, but it also comes with some risks. If the risks outweigh the benefits, you can proceed with your life by having your wisdom teeth with you. But if not, it would be best to consult a dentist and talk about getting the procedure immediately.

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