What You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are molars that seem to appear out of nowhere. These third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, typically make their grand entrance during the late teenage years or early twenties. Some people need to have them removed, while others may not. Understanding the basics about wisdom teeth can help demystify their potential issues.

Wisdom teeth basics

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge in the back of the mouth. Their arrival often occurs between the ages of 17 and 25. Anthropologists believe that our ancestors developed wisdom teeth to assist in chewing coarse foods like leaves, roots and raw meat. As our diets evolved, the need for these extra molars diminished.

Not everyone will have the same number of wisdom teeth. While some people have all four, others may have fewer, or none at all. The variability in the number of wisdom teeth is attributed to genetic factors and evolution.

Common wisdom teeth challenges

One of the most common challenges associated with wisdom teeth is impaction. This occurs when there isn’t enough space in the jaw for the teeth to fully emerge. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain, swelling and even infection, so it’s best to have them removed.

Furthermore, wisdom teeth may not always align properly with the rest of the teeth, causing bite issues and potential crowding. Misaligned wisdom teeth can also make maintaining proper oral hygiene more challenging.

Wisdom tooth removal

Wisdom teeth are typically evaluated during routine dental check-ups, and the decision to remove them is based on various factors. While some people may never experience issues with their wisdom teeth, many opt to have them removed preventively to avoid potential complications. Your Fioritto dentist will typically consider removing wisdom teeth during the late teens or early twenties. The roots of the teeth are not fully formed at this stage, making extraction potentially less complicated and the recovery process smoother.

Your Fioritto dentist will use various diagnostic tools and examinations to determine if wisdom teeth need to be removed. These assessments may include:

  • X-rays: We often use X-rays to get a comprehensive view of the entire mouth, allowing them to assess the position, angle and development of wisdom teeth.
  • Examination: We will also conduct a physical examination of the mouth, checking for signs of impaction, misalignment or other issues.
  • Symptoms and history: If a patient experiences symptoms such as swelling or difficulty in opening the mouth, or if there is a history of recurrent infections in the wisdom tooth area, they may need to be removed.

Some patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed before issues arise. This proactive approach is based on the understanding that complications may be more likely in the future due to the potential for impaction, misalignment or other problems.

Others may wait until they experience symptoms or receive a professional recommendation. In either case, communication with your friendly Fioritto dentist is key to making informed decisions about the timing and necessity of wisdom tooth removal. Call today to schedule your next appointment!