Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth—also referred to as third molars—are the last permanent teeth that come in. Wisdom teeth are named according to the time period in which they begin to erupt from the gums—typically around the late teens to early adulthood, ranging from the more mature ages of 17 through 21. Once wisdom teeth do finally come, they can help you better bite and chew comfortably. However, there are many instances in which patients experience pain and discomfort, or problems with cavities in these teeth. For that reason, dentists sometimes recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth extracted.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

A wisdom teeth extraction is not necessary for all patients but is often performed for numerous reasons, including:

  • Cavity Prevention – Because wisdom teeth are found more towards the back of the mouth, they are harder to reach for regular brushing and flossing. Wisdom teeth also have more grooves and fissures that cause food to become stuck easily. For these reasons, they are more prone to develop cavities. Some patients opt to have their wisdom teeth removed to reduce their risk of developing these cavities.
  • Impacted Wisdom Tooth – Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt from the gums; the rest of your permanent teeth may not allow enough room for the wisdom teeth to grow, resulting in impacted wisdom teeth that are unable to erupt properly.
  • Discomfort – In some cases, the growth of wisdom teeth can result in pain or extreme discomfort. This can be due to an impacted wisdom tooth, or a wisdom tooth that has not grown in properly. Many patients opt for a wisdom tooth extraction to alleviate this discomfort.

There are several other reasons why patients and dentists recommend wisdom tooth extraction, including the reduced risk of gum disease, cysts, and damage to neighboring teeth—especially in the case of impacted wisdom teeth. A wisdom tooth extraction in addition to regular dental care at the dentist and at home will help reduce these dental problems and prevent them from occurring. If you have experienced pain or discomfort in your wisdom teeth, book an appointment with us today for an exam; you may be in need of a wisdom tooth extraction!