While not everyone needs their wisdom teeth extracted, it is a very common procedure.
Indeed, 85% of people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point. Because wisdom teeth first begin to appear in the late teen years, educating your teenager on what to watch for will help them access treatment faster should they require extraction.
Wisdom teeth no longer serve any real function on a biological level. Unfortunately, they can still cause major health problems. Ensuring that you’re aware of the signs of infection or impaction is incredibly important for accessing treatment quickly – which can make all the difference to the amount of pain caused by these pesky extra teeth.
What Exactly Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are often referred to as the ‘third molars.’ This is because that’s exactly what they are. Positioned in the back quadrant of both the top and bottom jaw, the wisdom teeth used to function as “heavy duty” extra molars, used for grinding and chewing tough game, hard nuts, and other primitive foodstuffs. But because of the significant changes in our diets today, we no longer need our wisdom teeth.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth So Troublesome?
Simply said, we no longer have enough room in our mouths to handle four huge additional molars, which is the primary cause of wisdom tooth removal becoming so popular. Because they appear so much later than the rest of the adult teeth, by the time they erupt, space in your jaw is already at a premium.
While you may be lucky enough to have enough room in your jaw to accommodate your wisdom teeth without issue, most people aren’t so fortunate. This means that when the wisdom teeth start to grow out, usually when one is between the ages of 15 and 25, they can cause overcrowding and other painful problems.
What Problems Do Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Because wisdom teeth require so much space, one of the many problems they cause is overcrowding in the jaw. This implies that they press on neighbouring teeth to fit into the jaw, which causes teeth to shift out of alignment and even overlap.
This will require the use of orthodontics to fix, in addition to having to undergo wisdom tooth removal surgery. As a result, it is advised to keep a close eye on the back of the jaw during late adolescence and early twenties to ensure that any signs of trouble are addressed quickly before requiring additional treatment.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
When wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to erupt through the gums, they become impacted. This means that they either grow sideways, crushing the roots of neighbouring teeth or downwards into the jawbone itself. Both possibilities result in extreme pain and the urgent need for extraction surgery. As if this wasn’t enough, cysts can form around the impacted teeth, which can cause infection and even damage the jawbone itself.
What Are The Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Because wisdom teeth may not erupt through the gum if they are impacted, it’s not always possible to see them. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of impacted wisdom teeth so that, if necessary, treatment can be sought.
The first indicators of a problem with wisdom teeth are pain, swelling, and inflammation in the back of the jaw. Gums may be tender, red, and swollen. It could hurt to open your mouth too wide and there may be an unpleasant taste in the back of your mouth. We advise making an appointment with us as soon as possible if any of these symptoms exist because they are all significant indicators that your wisdom teeth are both impacted and infected.
How Can We Help?
While we endeavour to help patients keep their teeth, hanging onto your wisdom is utterly unnecessary. Before we go through with extraction surgery, we’ll do a full examination, including x-rays of your jaw, to see if extraction is suitable for you. If there are any complications, such as excessively long wisdom tooth roots, we may refer you to a specialist oral surgeon. Should the services of a specialist not be required, we will happily and efficiently remove your wisdom teeth, preventing further pain or infection.
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