Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, got their name because they’re usually the last teeth to come in – most often when people are in their late adolescence. Here’s a fun fact: a few people in the world don’t have wisdom teeth at all! If you want to learn more about wisdom teeth and both good and bad sides of having them, all you need to do is to keep on reading. Here are some important facts you should be familiar with, so check them out and enjoy!
First of all, why do we have wisdom teeth?
Even though wisdom teeth are a bit of a mystery, we can freely say that their function dates back to our early ancestors. Using knives and cooking their food simply wasn’t an option, which is why they needed to chew tough, coarse foods such as raw meat, roots, and nuts. A broader jaw and strong molars – including the wisdom teeth – were therefore highly required for their survival. On the other hand, we don’t need wisdom teeth today primarily because we chop, boil, bake, or steam almost everything to eat. In fact, some experts believe that our jawline has become smaller and less broad over the years due to how food is prepared and consumed, which is the reason why a lot of people decide to extract their wisdom teeth.
What are the potential issues with a wisdom tooth?
Truth be told, your wisdom teeth can easily become infected primarily because of their position in the mouth. These are often very hard to reach with a toothbrush and floss, which is why a large number of people tend to either completely neglect them or fail to clean them properly. This is exactly how food residue, plaque, and other debris get to accumulate on and between the teeth, promoting bacteria growth and causing various problems. Apart from that, when a wisdom tooth doesn’t erupt fully, it may be partially covered with a flap of gum tissue which can also trap food, plaque, and bacteria, resulting in an infection. When it comes to treatment, dentists commonly prescribe antibiotics that treat infected wisdom teeth. Besides these, they usually recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and numbing gels that can relieve discomfort.
How to save a wisdom tooth?
No matter how severe your tooth pain may be, there are almost always ways to stop it without pulling your tooth out. Endodontic treatment is one of the most popular options, and it’s extremely practical as well simply because it often leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your tooth extracted. This treatment is also known as root canal, and it can help you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love, and limit the need for ongoing dental work. In case you weren’t aware of it, endodontics is a branch of dentistry concerned with diseases and injuries of the soft tissues inside a tooth. While all endodontists are dentists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists. Their additional training focuses on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canal treatments, which is exactly what you need if you want to save your wisdom tooth!
When to extract a wisdom tooth?
If your wisdom tooth is damaged and can’t be saved, your dentist may decide on partial or complete wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom tooth dentists are generally known as oral surgeons, and you should know that extraction is the only viable choice when you have an impacted wisdom tooth. Such a tooth is highly likely to cause infection and damage your other teeth, which is why your oral surgeon will want to extract it. Wisdom tooth extraction is performed under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain, and you don’t have to worry at all because you won’t have an unattractive gap in your smile afterwards. The space occupied by the tooth will gradually fill in with healthy bone tissue, which means that your smile will remain intact. And guess what? You’ll get to eat as much ice cream you want after wisdom tooth extraction as it will soothe the inflamed tissue and promote a quicker healing process!
As you can tell, there really are a lot of things you should take into consideration when it comes to your wisdom teeth, so be sure to bear them in mind before you make a final decision. Of course, don’t forget to consult with your dentist and/or endodontist as well, as they can help you make the right decision!