Your Wisdom Teeth Guide

As a baby and young child, your primary teeth—or baby teeth—erupt. They help you eat and speak, but they also serve as placeholders for your permanent teeth. Your wisdom teeth are a group of permanent teeth that don't erupt until you are older, and they often cause problems. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are also known as your third molars. You grow four at the back of your mouth. These teeth typically erupt between ages 17 and 25. In the past, the third molars helped grind up raw foods like vegetables and meats for better digestion. However, as the human diet changed and they learned to cook, the wisdom teeth became less necessary.

Why Do People Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Ideally, you wouldn't need your wisdom teeth removed. However, because human mouths are smaller than human ancestors', there is often little space for wisdom teeth to grow normally. Wisdom teeth may not fully erupt or become impacted.

Teeth that don't fully erupt can lead to an infection or cyst. If a tooth becomes impacted, it grows at an angle. This may lead to damage to nearby teeth, which can also trigger an abscess. Even if the teeth grow normally, it may be harder to keep them clean, increasing the risk of decay and infection.

What Consists of Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Since wisdom teeth often lead to further complications down the line, many dentists recommend having them removed as soon as they erupt. If the teeth fully erupted, you may only need a simple extraction, which any dentist can perform.

If any incisions need to be made to better access the tooth, the procedure is considered a surgical extraction, and you may need a specialist. Surgical extractions also require stitches, and they are common for impacted teeth.

Regardless of the type of extraction, you need to care for the plug or blood clot to prevent dry socket. If you dislodge the blood clot, it exposes the jawbone, causing severe pain that requires dental attention. You may dislodge the blood clot if:

  • You smoke while the clot is healing
  • You use a straw while the clot is healing
  • You brush too hard

Wisdom teeth were once useful, but they now often pose complications. For this reason, most people have their wisdom teeth removed once they erupt. If you would like to know more about wisdom teeth surgery, contact a dentist in your area today.