Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last teeth in both rows. They are also the last ones to erupt – many people don’t have fully emerged wisdom teeth until their late twenties. According to specialists, wisdom teeth are vestigial teeth – our ancestors needed them to grind plant tissue, such as foliage, and to make cellulose easier to digest, but the diet of modern humans has changed a lot since then – our food is much softer than the food that our ancestors ate and these dietary transformations have led to our jaws becoming smaller, less protruding than the jaws of the Paleolithic man. Narrower jaws have less room for the last teeth on the sides, that’s why wisdom teeth are often unable to develop and to erupt properly, causing pain and other problems.
The Problems that Wisdom Teeth Can Cause
One of the most common problems caused by wisdom teeth is the inability of the tooth to emerge normally and its growth underneath the surface of the gum, often horizontally or in an angle that puts pressure on the entire row of teeth and leads to the crowding of the teeth. The other common issue experienced with wisdom teeth is partial eruption – the process usually results in wisdom teeth that do not grow to full size, making dental cleaning difficult or impossible and potentially leading to the appearance of cysts, infections, gum disease, even damaged teeth roots and jaw bones.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed
The decay and the abnormal growth of wisdom teeth are among the most common severe dental problems, but not everyone suffers from such issues. Wisdom teeth that erupt and grow normally don’t need to be extracted and the smaller cavities that affect wisdom teeth can be corrected with the same procedures as in the case of cavities that affect other teeth. However, if any of the following symptoms appear, the extraction of the affected wisdom tooth might be the best solution:
- Jaw pain and tooth pain – wisdom teeth are usually large and when they don’t grow in the right direction, they can cause pain in the jaw bone that is very hard to endure;
- Decay caused to other teeth – wisdom teeth that grow incorrectly can also cause damage to the other teeth. One of the effects is tooth crowding and the resulting difficulty to clean the small space between adjacent teeth, which can lead to the decay of multiple teeth;
- Infection and gum disease – abnormally growing wisdom teeth cause constant irritation to the gums, while incompletely emerged teeth can promote the proliferation of bacteria and can lead to the appearance of infections, such as abscesses;
- Sinus problems – the upper wisdom teeth can grow inward, toward the sinuses in the face, putting pressure on the area and causing various problems, including sinus pain, headaches and frequent sinus infections.
The decision whether to extract wisdom teeth is made by the dentist – look for an experienced wisdom teeth removal Castle Rock oral surgeon for best results – based on panoramic X-rays and visual inspections. The removal procedure is usually more complex than in the case of other teeth, but the extraction will solve many problems and will improve the patient’s general health as well.