It’s nice to think that with more age comes more wisdom. Sometimes, though, more age just means wisdom teeth.
Your mouth will go through quite a few changes over the course of your lifetime. There’s on a particularly major dental milestone that is the appearance of third molars. It doesn’t happen to everyone, and for those that do get them, it usually happens in the time-span from age 17 up to 21, although it can happen earlier or later.
Most of the time, these teeth are colloquially known as wisdom teeth since they come through when someone is more mature. These are definitely not baby teeth.
When wisdom teeth come through properly, they can be healthy enough to help you chew food. These third molars show up in the back of the mouth. Going from baby years into the later teens and early adulthood, incisors are the first teeth to show up, followed by the canines.
Premolars show up before the molars, and that’s the end of it for some unless you get third molars or wisdom teeth. You might feel a bit of discomfort when they first show up, and if there’s any pain, you should see a dentist immediately.
Wisdom teeth often show up four at a time, with a pair of molars on the lower jaw, one on each side, with a parallel pair on either side of the upper jaw.
Problems can happen if any other number besides four shows up.
Also, some wisdom teeth will only partially erupt, which means they only come part way out. Others even stay covered in the gum tissue or the jawbone itself. These are known as ‘impacted’ teeth and usually, need professional attention and service.
Doctors frequently speculate about the need for wisdom teeth, since they cause many issues and aren’t really necessary for chewing. Even though they might not show up until a decade later, they start growing inside the jaw when you’re about 7. This is obviously later than other teeth that start their internal growth before or near birth.
However, wisdom teeth might have been previously necessary since historical diets weren’t as soft as they are now. Wisdom teeth might have been necessary for replacing other molars that had gotten worn down. Also, some evidence suggests that human jawbones used to be bigger, leaving room for more teeth.
Wisdom teeth that don’t come in right can be serious problems though. If they’re not in the right position, then they might let food get trapped, which becomes a safe space for cavity-causing bacteria to start growing. It’s also really hard to floss back there.
Partially erupted wisdom teeth leave openings for gums and infections to happen. That can mean swelling, stiffness, and pain in your jaw.
Also, if there’s not enough room, they might damage or crowd surrounding teeth. Much like plants too close together in a garden, the roots of many teeth can get hurt or even destroyed.
You might be shocked to hear your dentist suggest removing wisdom teeth even if there is no pain nor any signs or symptoms of problems. For many in the dental profession, it’s just a preventative effort. Mouth bones get harder as a person ages, making it harder to get teeth out as you age. There can also be potentially lifetime complications from delaying surgery.
X-rays sometimes show potential problems in advance, even if you feel fine now. Cysts might start forming around new teeth that lead to jaw damage, like hollow spaces or damaged nerves. Sinus issues can happen due to congestion, pressure, and pain.
Also, tissue and gums around wisdom teeth might get inflamed, as they might swell and become hard to clean. Also, swollen gums might create pockets in between the teeth that will help bacteria grow before cavities form.
Alignment issues with other teeth are another possibility since everything gets crowded. It might even make it necessary to straighten out other teeth.
If you’ve been advised to have your third molars taken out, or you think you’re a candidate based on the information presented in this content, then you might know you should think about it, but you could still be hesitant or have reservations about it. That’s understandable because going to the dentist is rarely anyone’s idea of fun. Having said that, going to the dentist to get teeth taken out deliberately really doesn’t sound like any fun.
The best thing you can do is to talk to your dentist and have him or her explain what they see going on in your mouth with your teeth. In a lot of cases, you might be able to wait a few months and see if things get better or just change in any way before making the call.
However, if your back teeth have a bad odor, or you notice pain and swelling around there, get a second look and prepare to have them taken out.
Life is a lot better without bad teeth present.