The concept of wisdom teeth has been well-known for a long time. In fact, you’ve probably seen wisdom teeth extraction videos online and had a laugh at videos of people having those post-extraction giggles from the anesthesia. But what exactly are wisdom teeth and why do they need to be extracted?
Wisdom teeth form one group of the three molars and are the last to come out. They’re called “wisdom teeth” as they often erupt during your late teens or early twenties (which is believed to be the age of wisdom).
They are built with the toughest and widest structure for the purpose of chewing tough food. It is also believed that wisdom teeth are somewhat a sign of “evolution” as for our ancestors, they served as a back-up if and when the primary teeth fell out.
While our ancestors benefitted from wisdom teeth, we cannot exactly say the same today. Compared to the past, we’ve significantly adjusted our diets and lifestyles. Now, wisdom teeth can cause problems if not extracted at the right time. The necessity for wisdom teeth is no longer seen as they’re more troublesome than beneficial.
As they no longer serve a necessary purpose, when wisdom teeth do grow, they often push out other teeth. This can cause the crowding of your teeth, which then yields pressure or pain. Sometimes, wisdom teeth also don’t go straight out. It’s more often that they grow sideways, hitting nerves and bones and disrupting the peace in your mouth. They can also get infected and decay and that will cause serious pain.
The human jaw is now smaller than that of our ancestors, and it seems that there is just not enough space for wisdom teeth to grow for some people. This causes wisdom teeth to erupt in certain angles that are not optimal. When this happens, they can harm surrounding teeth or cause them to be misaligned.
Wisdom teeth can cause quite a kick of pain and can lead to more problems for your other molars. These instances call for wisdom teeth extraction. It’s standard practice to have wisdom teeth extracted and approximately 85% of people have them taken out.
However, there are some people who don’t experience any problems with wisdom teeth eruption. But you’ll know you’re due for a wisdom tooth extraction if you experience any of the following:
With your wisdom teeth being the closest to your jaw, you can experience pain in these areas when the molars are not extracted in a timely manner. Common causes for jaw pain brought about by wisdom teeth include crowding and impacted teeth. The latter is when wisdom teeth grow sidewards or inwards instead of outwards. This causes pressure and pain to the jaw and the neighboring teeth.
Wisdom teeth problems can cause headaches too. When wisdom teeth start pushing out, they can push against sinuses, which causes headache and sinus pain. While headaches can be dealt with by taking minor pain relief medications, prolonged and continuous pain caused by wisdom teeth warrants a visit to your oral surgeon for extraction.
Bad breath is not only something that can bring down your confidence, it can also be a sign of alarming problems. Bad breath, while common, can be an indication of infection and tooth decay. This is especially if you experience bad breath even after brushing or rinsing with mouthwash. If left unchecked, it can cause intense sharp pain that’s definitely not tolerable and could be very uncomfortable.
Wisdom teeth extractions are recommended, but they aren’t required if they don’t cause problems with your oral nerves or other molars. But because wisdom teeth are infamous for causing pain and discomfort, they may need to be taken care of.
If you are unsure if your wisdom teeth are due for extraction, it’s best to book a session with your oral surgeon to help further investigate the status of your wisdom teeth. This is true even if you don’t feel any pain, pressure, or side effects mentioned above.
After a difficult wisdom tooth extraction, you may also develop dry socket, which is curable.
Remember that some problems, especially when it comes to your oral health, are beyond what meets the eye. Though you may not see them on the surface, it’s best to have a licensed professional take a look and determine when it is time for your wisdom teeth extraction.