Know Your Wisdom Teeth: What’s So Interesting About It?
Most adults have around 32 teeth in their mouths, but there is one kind of tooth that seems to get a great deal of attention from Chandler dentists. Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, get their name by being the last teeth to come in during young adulthood. As part of a dental visit, your dentist will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned.
Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:
- damage to adjacent teeth
- gum disease
- tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Adults can have a maximum of 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth or third molars are the last to come through, right at the back. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Although sometimes they appear many years later.
Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth – 28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
Do wisdom teeth always cause problems?
No. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth. Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.
Your dentist or specialist may also recommend removal to prevent problems or for others reasons, such as when removal is part of an orthodontic, restorative or periodontal treatment plan.
In addition, the condition of your mouth changes over time. Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored, because the potential for developing problems later on still exists. As with many other health conditions, as people age, they are at greater risk for health problems and that includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth. Regular dental visits are important so your dentist can evaluate not just your wisdom teeth but your overall oral health to help you prevent and manage dental disease and achieve optimal oral health.