There are a few different theories as to why we get wisdom teeth, commonly referred to as third molars. Some believe that it is because our ancestors survived on a diet of coarse roots, nuts and meats. They were not privy to silverware and certainly did not cook their food. It is thought that these teeth were necessary to help chew and digest this abrasive diet. Others call on evolutionary wisdom to explain a theory that began many years ago when humans had wider jaws and could accommodate more teeth. No matter the history behind them, they can be a problem today.
Problems With Wisdom Teeth
Many people refer to wisdom teeth as the third molars and many dentists refer to them as the problem teeth. Wisdom teeth commonly erupt in early adulthood, long after the permanent teeth have come in. Many times, there is not room for them and other teeth tend to shift and become crowded. This can make it difficult to clean teeth thoroughly, inviting plaque and decay.
Wisdsom teeth often become impacted causing headaches, ear aches and discomfort in the jaw. Additionally, impacted teeth can become infected or even abscess. If this isn’t addressed immediately, infection can enter the bloodstream causing further health complications.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
It is often recommended that patients visit an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth removed, often as a preventative measure. Since we slice, cut and chop our food, the third molars are not a necessary part of our dentition. Sometimes patients wait until they experience discomfort to visit an oral surgeon. If infection is present, antibiotics may be necessary before the wisdom teeth can be extracted. On rare occasions, the wisdom teeth may erupt without issue, but they are so far back in the mouth they are difficult to keep clean.
If you still have your wisdom teeth, or you are experiencing discomfort which may stem from these third molars, call our office today. Our highly trained staff will help you explore your options so you can make the best decision for your oral health and general well-being.