Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are a common mystery among young adults. They do not begin growing until after the other permanent teeth have claimed their places in the mouth. Often leaving little to no room for them to come in. Many wonder where their name comes from as well as why we have them at all since most people have them taken out before or shortly after they have erupted from the gum. Not everyone has all four teeth apparent, and some never have any.
They are referred to as “wisdom teeth ” to represent the wise young adults that produce them, since these teeth usually grow between late teenage and young adult years. They are also referred to as “third molars” among the medical community as well as other names in different areas of the world. While the reason we have wisdom teeth has yet to be proven, it is believed that our ancestors needed these extra pairs of molars to be able to chew the tough plants and meat prominent in their daily diets. They were not always able to cut manageable pieces for themselves like we can now, which is why there is little to no need for these extra teeth today.
It is a common myth, however, that wisdom teeth must be removed regardless of symptoms or individual situations. While many dentists do recommend removal to eliminate any risks of infection, or movement among other teeth, your wisdom teeth may not need to be removed. Which is why it’s so important to watch for these following signs that you should have these teeth removed.
5 Signs You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal
Some people have no symptoms or problems when their wisdom teeth are coming in while others are forced to deal with a crazy amount of issues leading up to a painful procedure and longer recovery. While it’s not always possible to eliminate all possibility of complications with your wisdom teeth, there are some signs you can keep an eye out for letting you know when you should have your wisdom teeth looked at and possibly removed. The sooner you seek dental care the better chance you have at a short recovery time and easy procedure.
Some signs to watch for include:
- Pain and sensitivity towards the back of the mouth and behind your last molars.
- Cyst or abscesses in your mouth.
- Stiffness or discomfort in your jaw.
- Inflammation in gums.
- Unusually bad breath and/or a lingering bad taste in your mouth.
- Sinus issues.
All of these are signs of potential wisdom teeth issues or possibly other dental issues in need of treatment. If you notice any of these signals you should schedule a visit with your trusted dentist as soon as possible. There is a chance you may never show signs of wisdom teeth growth and in these cases it’s important to listen to the advice given by your dentist following x-rays to determine if your extra teeth pose any potential problems.
What Does it Mean When Wisdom Teeth are Impacted?
You may have heard the word “impacted” used when people talk about wisdom teeth and wondered what it meant. Impacted wisdom teeth are those that are either partially or completely trapped under the gum. Impacted teeth may be facing straight up and down unable to erupt, or may be sideways and pushing up against the surrounding teeth. This is a common issue with wisdom teeth and can result in severe pain, infection, and dental shifting. The most common signs of impaction include pain, pressure, swelling, and bad breath. Normally your dentist will be able to see your wisdom teeth and their position during your regular 6-months check-ups but they may not always be able to tell if they are impacted or not.
Expectations During and After the Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
While it may be scary going into the procedure it can be helpful knowing what to expect during and after. Most dental offices offer three different types of anesthesia and deciding which one is best for you will depend on a variety of different factors such as your preference, your dentist’s recommendation, and the condition your mouth is in. The three types include local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, and general anesthesia. During the procedure, your dentist will apply or inject the anesthesia and then begin making an incision in the gums covering and/or surrounding your wisdom teeth, after it has taken effect. Then they will remove the bone blocking access to the tooth root, and divide the tooth into pieces allowing for easier extraction. Then they remove the tooth and proceed to clean the site of any debris or bone fragments left. This step is crucial in preventing infection and further complications. The wound(s) are then stitched closed and gauzed is placed over top to help blood clotting.
After your procedure you will be taken to a recovery room and are given recovery time if you were given general anesthesia. It is smart to rest for the remainder of the day, but normal activities can resume the next day. It is recommended however to avoid any strenuous activities for up to a week following your procedure to ensure the blood clots remain. Bleeding, minor pain, swelling, and bruising should all be expected in the following days of your procedure. Only soft foods should be consumers for the first 24 hours after as well as no hot beverages. Your dentist will go into more detail with the do’s and don’ts following the procedure. In the event of any complications or issues following your procedure we recommend contacting your dentist with any questions or concerns or visiting the hospital for severe complications and if you cannot get hold of your doctor.