Wisdom teeth are molars that typically come in during a young adult’s life, also known as the third molars. When wisdom teeth are left in, they can lead to other problems. So, what are they? Why do we have them? And why do we need them removed?
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Over time, human jawbone has shrunk. Because jaws are smaller than they used to be, when wisdom teeth come in, all 32 teeth can’t fit properly in the mouth. When wisdom teeth erupt, they crowd other teeth and they can cause many problems. Some wisdom teeth can become impacted and never fully erupt when there is not enough room, or they are being blocked by other teeth. Though pretty much everyone has wisdom teeth, some people’s wisdom teeth don’t erupt beyond the surface.
When Wisdom Teeth Become a Problem
Wisdom teeth may not always cause problems, but when they aren’t extracted, overtime issues tend to surface. Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing you pain, they can still impact your teeth’s spacing, or even wrap around the nerves in your mouth and cause other issues. Wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth that proper dental care can be difficult. Because of the difficulty of their care and the potential problems they can cause, most dentists recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth removed for their long-term health.
Problems that Come from Wisdom Teeth
When they are not removed, wisdom teeth—whether impacted or not—can cause serious problems. Some of these issues include pain, cysts, damage to nearby teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay. When wisdom teeth start to take up space in your mouth, they can push against other molars and more nearby teeth. When a wisdom tooth becomes impacted, other issues can come to the surface as well. Impacted wisdom teeth can easily get infected—this can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and if the infection reaches your bloodstream, it can even affect other parts of your body. Fluid-filled cysts can form at the bottom of impacted wisdom teeth that can cause damage to the jawbone and nerves in the area.
Why are they called wisdom teeth?
So, where does the name wisdom teeth come from? Because wisdom teeth are molars that come in a little later, typically they erupt between ages 17 and 25, they are referred to as wisdom teeth. This name stems from the belief that wisdom comes with age.
If your wisdom teeth have come in, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah to see if it’s time to get them out. Getting them removed sooner rather than later can save you from other problems and pain down the road. Come see us today for a consultation!