What are Wisdom Teeth?
During your lifetime, many of us will get two sets of teeth to help us through our development. We all start with our primary teeth, also known as our baby teeth. As we get older, around the age of four or five, these teeth start to fall out to make way for our permanent teeth. Our permanent teeth start to make their appearance around the age of six, and if we take good care of them, they are expected to last us the rest of our life.
However, most of us get another set of teeth as we enter late adolescence and early adulthood. These teeth are what we here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry call wisdom teeth or your third molars.
What are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do I Have Them?
Contrary to popular belief (or those who have a good sense of humor!), the presence of wisdom teeth does not automatically make you smarter. Rather, wisdom teeth get their name because they appear later in life when most of us are entering adulthood and starting our post-secondary education and college (between the ages of 17 to 21 for most).
For many people who get their wisdom teeth, they arrive with little fanfare or fuss. For 60 percent of our patients, though, wisdom teeth extraction is necessary due to discomfort or impaction.
Wisdom teeth are not always necessary, which makes their purpose and function a little bit of a mystery to us. Our permanent teeth are usually more than adequate to help us bite, eat, and chew, so why do the wisdom teeth appear so late in life? We believe that wisdom teeth show up later in life because of how our diet used to be. In the past, our food was tougher and harder to chew. Our teeth naturally wore down due to our diet.
Nowadays, our food is softer and more processed, making our wisdom teeth largely redundant. Your body has not gotten that message yet, though, which is why you still get them!
Getting your wisdom teeth, unfortunately, is usually the signal that problems in your mouth are about to start. For starters, brushing your wisdom teeth may be a bit of a challenge, as they are so far back in your mouth. They may be more prone to tooth decay, infection, and gum disease. Wisdom teeth are often prone to complications from impaction, as well. While they may come in without any trouble, if they do not want to erupt from the gum line, you may start to notice pain and swelling in your mouth. In these instances, we will have to remove your wisdom tooth to help you feel more comfortable and free from pain and risk to your other teeth.
Let Us Help
If you have your wisdom teeth and they are not bothering you, then you have nothing to worry about. If they start to hurt or bother you, though, it is important that you allow us to take a look at them to make sure they are growing in properly. If not, we may need to take X-rays and discuss the possibility of extraction with you. To learn more about wisdom teeth, or to set up an appointment with us here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry, please give us a call at (281) 942-0444 today!