October 20, 2018
Ever noticed how you don’t think about whether something is clean – until it’s not? Wisdom teeth are a lot like that.
If you’re like most people, you don’t even know what wisdom teeth are—or wonder about the state of yours—until pain drives you to Google and then the dentist. But knowing about yours before they start hurting could prevent unexpected damage to your smile.
Why are they called “wisdom” teeth?
Great question! Most of your teeth appear when you’re a baby or toddler, but your third molars, known as wisdom teeth, come in much later – between the ages of 17 and 25 – when you are supposedly older and wiser. And with research showing that the brain doesn’t fully mature until about age 25, there might just be some truth in that idea.
Here’s another fun fact: Not everyone has four wisdom teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth give us so much trouble?
Some people don’t have any issues with their third molars,but when there is trouble, it often has to do with overcrowding or with what is known as “partial eruption,” where a tooth doesn’t or can’t come in all the way. When there’s no room for a wisdom tooth to come in, it’s called impacted.
Sometimes wisdom teeth grow in at an angle or can even be lying completely sideways in your jaw. Unfortunately, even wisdom teeth that seemed to grow in normally are often at risk of infection, decay and gum disease because their location makes them harder to clean. Those types of issues may also damage the second molar.
How can I know before my wisdom teeth give me trouble?
With X-rays, your dentist can see when the angle of the tooth is going to cause extensive disruption before it even comes in. That’s the last thing you want after you’ve invested in orthodontics to straighten your teeth! In that case, proactive surgical removal helps you avoid a lot of pain and damage to your smile.
Will I need to be put to sleep to remove my wisdom teeth?
For surgical removal of wisdom teeth, sedation is typically used. If the tooth has fully erupted and needs to be removed due to crowding or infection, it may be able to be removed through extraction. Sedation is available for any dental procedure that makes patients anxious, including extraction.
Recovery can take a few days, but you’ll be strong enough for a trip to 6 Flags Over Texas before you know it!
Taking Proactive Steps
If you’ve had dental care throughout your childhood, your dentist has monitored your wisdom teeth and will recommend preventive action if needed. If not, you’re in need of a good check-up, anyway. Whether you’re in pain or not, your dentist will let you know if there is anything to be concerned about, even before symptoms develop.
About the Author
South ArlingtonDental Care’s Dr. Prachi Shah has been offering preventive and restorative dental care since 2007. She is dedicated to making your experience as comfortable, convenient and affordable as possible with her caring and calming personality and home-like office environment. Call 817-860-2222 to find why Dr. Shah’s patients return year after year.
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