Wisdom teeth emerge in the back of the mouth. Typically, they appear between the ages of 17 and 25, although some people may not develop them at all. Wisdom teeth can cause a number of problems, and it is essential to understand what they are and how to manage them. Here we will discuss what you need to know about wisdom teeth.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or the third and final set of molars, develop in the back of the mouth. They are called wisdom teeth because they appear in the late teens or early adulthood when a person is said to have gained some wisdom. In most cases, people have four wisdom teeth, two on the upper side and two on the lower. However, some people may have fewer or more than four.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
The evolutionary purpose of wisdom teeth is not entirely clear. Some scientists believe our ancestors needed the extra molars to help them chew tough, raw foods like roots, nuts, and meats. However, as our diets have evolved, our jaws have become smaller, leaving less room for wisdom teeth. As a result, many people experience problems with their wisdom teeth.
What are the Common Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth?
There are several problems associated with wisdom teeth, including:
- Crowding: Wisdom teeth can push on adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or become misaligned.
- Impaction: Wisdom teeth can become trapped beneath the gumline, causing pain, infection, and damage to nearby teeth and bone.
- Infection: Wisdom teeth that do not fully emerge can create a pocket of bacteria, leading to infection and inflammation.
- Cysts and Tumors: In rare cases, wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumors that can damage the jawbone and surrounding tissues.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Problems?
Some common signs and symptoms of wisdom teeth problems include:
- Pain in the back of the mouth or jaw.
- Swelling or redness around the gums.
- Difficulty opening the mouth.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
If you are encountering any of these symptoms, you should consult a dentist to determine if your wisdom teeth are the cause.
How are Wisdom Teeth Managed?
If your dentist identifies that your wisdom teeth are causing problems, they may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Extraction: The most common treatment for problematic wisdom teeth is extraction. Dental or oral surgeons will perform the extraction under local anesthesia, numbing the area.
- Monitoring: If your wisdom teeth are not causing problems, the dentist may recommend monitoring them with regular X-rays to detect potential issues.
- Cleaning: If your wisdom teeth partially emerge, the dentist may recommend regular cleaning to prevent infection and decay.
Sometimes, the dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.
In conclusion, wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that develop in the back of the mouth. They can cause a variety of problems, including crowding, impaction, infection, and cysts or tumors. If you are seeing any signs or symptoms of wisdom teeth problems, it is essential to consult a dentist to determine the best course of treatment.
In most cases, problematic wisdom teeth are treated with extraction. However, if your wisdom teeth are not causing problems, your dentist may recommend monitoring them with regular X-rays. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly can help prevent wisdom teeth problems and other dental issues.