An impacted wisdom tooth growing under an existing permanent tooth.

Everything You Should Know about Wisdom Teeth

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the molars found at the very back of the mouth. They tend to only become established in the mouth in someone’s late teens or early twenties. Most people experience discomfort when their wisdom teeth break through the gum line. If your wisdom teeth do not grow straight, they can cause pain and other dental issues that affect neighboring teeth.

What Happens when Wisdom Teeth Don’t Grow Straight?

Wisdom teeth can grow crooked and cause neighboring teeth to overlap and crowd each other, as well as result in damage to the jaw or nerves.

Alternatively, your wisdom teeth can be impacted, which means the tooth can not break through the gum line because it is being blocked by another tooth or teeth. This normally occurs when there is not enough room in the mouth for the wisdom tooth to erupt. However, an impacted tooth will not stop growing. Impacted wisdom teeth will continue to try and push through the gum tissue, which can result in great pain, gum damage, infection, and damage to the jaw line or other teeth.

There are many cases where wisdom teeth grow in perfectly straight but it’s best to have your wisdom teeth professionally removed if they pose a threat to the health of the rest of the mouth.

How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Each case is different because everyone’s mouth is different and the stage of development of the wisdom tooth also determines how much dental work needs to be done. Your dentist will be able to explain what is required for your procedure.

Generally, wisdom teeth that have broken through the gum line are easily extracted. Wisdom teeth that are still embedded in the bone are more difficult to extract and require anesthetic. Your dentist will have to surgically remove the tooth by cutting into the gum and bone tissue.

Depending on the complexity of the procedure, your recovery time can be anything from a few weeks to months. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions during your recovery time and to schedule a checkup appointment to monitor your healing progress.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Since they seem to cause so much trouble in our mouths, why do we even have wisdom teeth? Anthropologists believe that our ancestors would have used this extra set of molars for grinding and chewing food that was raw and hard to tear. Our genetics has simply not caught up with the change in our consumption of food that no longer requires us to have an extra set of teeth.

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