What is a Wisdom Tooth?
The wisdom tooth is any of the four molars that mostly erupts after puberty. It usually arises between 17 to 25 years of age. The wisdom tooth is the last posterior tooth in your mouth. In the past, wisdom teeth were called because it comes through at a mature age.
A healthy wisdom tooth can help you chew. It is normal to feel a little discomfort when they appear, but if you have pain, see your dentist immediately.
Wisdom teeth can lead to many problems:
- Space: if your wisdom tooth has not enough space to grow, it might come out in the wrong position
- Position: If your dentist says that your wisdom tooth is impacted, it means that they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums. It is best to extract it before it could danger your mouth.
What are the Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth?
- When they are not in their right position, they can allow food lodgement that gives cavities causing bacteria a place to grow.
- Sometimes their position cause difficulty during flossing
- If there is not sufficient space, they may cause crowding or damage neighboring tooth
- Erupted third molars are difficult to clean and become the source of infection (due to food lodgement) which may cause swelling, pain, stiffness in your jaw.
- Any impacted wisdom tooth can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth that could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
Should I Get My Wisdom Tooth Extracted?
Only your dentist can answer that question. X-rays will show if they are coming or not and if there is sufficient space for them to erupt. Sometimes, it is recommended to get then pulled.
Almost, about 35% of the population do not develop wisdom teeth at all and for those who have them, they might not cause any problem.
Asymptomatic wisdom teeth should be assessed regularly to detect the onset of potential problems they might cause.
It is believed that wisdom tooth extraction is very painful and leads to a lot of swelling. Routinely, a minor surgical procedure is required to remove impacted and semi-impacted third molars.
As they are surrounded by dense bone and their location can pose difficulty in their removal, the procedure is performed by a trained oral surgeon under local anesthesia (usually) to ensure that you don’t feel any pain.
Wisdom teeth are similar to vestigial organs in your body. For instance, your appendix has no function to perform but is still a part of the internal body. Similarly, wisdom teeth do not perform any function and neither does it help in chewing. The eruption is not associated with your intellectual wisdom. They are like “time-bombs” in your mouth that can explode anytime.