What You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth

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what you need to know about wisdom teeth

Your dens sapientiae can cause no end of problems, almost certainly more than they’re worth. That is, if they show up at all. If your Latin is rusty, your dens sapientiae are your wisdom teeth. They’re called wisdom teeth because they don’t make their appearance until you’re roughly 17 to 25 years old, when you’re wise enough to have them removed before they cause serious complications.

Not everyone’s experience of wisdom teeth is the same, but there is a common cluster of questions that come up over and over. If you’re experiencing the first eruption of wisdom teeth or considering your dentist’s recommendation about what to do with your wisdom teeth in Sherwood Park, here’s some answers to those questions to think about.

What are wisdom teeth?

There was a time in humans’ evolutionary past when our standard two sets of molars weren’t up to the task of a lifelong diet of leaves, roots, and meat. In those days, our bodies provided a third set of molars — what we now know as wisdom teeth — to supplement those molars that would gradually get worn down. As lifestyles and diets have evolved, it has turned out that our two sets of standard molars are generally enough, and that a third set of molars is surplus to requirements.

Why do wisdom teeth cause so many problems?

More than our lifestyles and diets have evolved. So, too, has the size of the average human’s jaw. Today’s human jaws are smaller than when we required wisdom teeth to survive. The arrival of a third set of molars into our smaller jaw threatens serious problems because there simply is not enough room for wisdom teeth to grow in straight without displacing other teeth. As a result, wisdom teeth often come in crooked, push other teeth out of place, or emerge incompletely and partially beneath other teeth.

The location of wisdom teeth if they do emerge efficiently — so far back in our jaw as they are — makes them very hard to keep clean. As such, they’re a constant risk for retaining bacteria that contribute to tooth decay on themselves, but also on our essential adjacent teeth. It’s a worth that just isn’t generally worth the reward.

Should your wisdom teeth be pulled?

Your dentist in Sherwood Park understands your medical history, dental history, and oral health best and is best positioned to answer this question after considering your jaw and any appropriate imaging. Many dentists recommend that wisdom teeth be pulled to avoid predictable complications and long-lasting effects such as the potential need for orthodontic treatment. While wisdom teeth is an invasive dental procedure, it is a very common one almost always performed without complications by specially trained dentists capable of removing the teeth comfortably.

The best way to make this decision is to attend dental checkups regularly, where your dentist will review any signs of your wisdom teeth emerging. At those same appointments, be sure to tell your dentist of any symptoms of wisdom tooth problems. Those symptoms include jaw pain, swollen and painful gums, and an odd taste near the back of your mouth.

Approximately 35% of adults won’t have to worry about these issues at all, since they don’t develop wisdom teeth. Perhaps they’re on the cutting edge of the next evolutionary stage in development when wisdom teeth will become less and less common. If you are concerned about the consequences of wisdom teeth development in your teens and early twenties, or are experiencing any symptoms of complications, contact a dentist in Sherwood Park for their best advice about how to maintain your immediate and long-term oral health.