Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last teeth to appear, usually at the end of adolescence. Many people have them free of infection and correctly aligned. The latter experience no problems, while others suffer pain and discomfort that can affect their quality of life and their removal becomes advisable.
In this article, we’ll talk about what wisdom teeth are, how they affect you and answer some frequently asked questions.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the back teeth in the back of the mouth. They often erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, although they may also appear later or not at all. Some people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth, while others may have fewer.
How do wisdom teeth affect us?
Although some people will never experience problems with their wisdom teeth, many do. Some common symptoms associated with wisdom teeth include pain, swelling and tenderness in the gums and jaw. They can also cause headaches, bite problems and tooth decay in adjacent teeth.
In addition, wisdom teeth can cause other problems if not properly treated. For example, if wisdom teeth do not have enough space to erupt, they can grow into adjacent teeth and cause damage to the roots of the teeth. They can also cause serious infections, cysts and tumors.
Main causes of discomfort in wisdom teeth:
There are several causes that can lead to problems with wisdom teeth and require their extraction to solve the situation:
Some of them are:
- Lack of space is one of the most common problems and can cause the tooth to push the teeth next to it, causing crowding.
- When wisdom teeth grow partially and the gum tissue grows over the tooth, facilitating the accumulation of food debris and bacteria in the gum flap.
- When the third molars are neither in the correct position nor in the correct direction.
- The cleaning of wisdom teeth is a little more complicated, which facilitates the appearance of cavities and other types of infections.
When should wisdom teeth be extracted?
Wisdom tooth removal is a decision to be made by your dentist or oral surgeon based on your individual situation.
In some cases, wisdom teeth can be left intact if they are not causing problems. However, if you experience pain or discomfort, you may want to consider extraction.
Removal of wisdom teeth is also recommended if there is evidence that they are causing damage to adjacent teeth or if they are causing problems with the bite. In addition, if you have a history of tooth infections or have a compromised immune system, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend wisdom tooth removal as a preventive measure.
We recommend the extraction of third molars or ‘wisdom teeth’ when they appear misaligned in the jaws and pose a risk to the well-being of the healthy molars next to them.
On many occasions, wisdom teeth appear horizontal with respect to the correct eruption plane and impacted on the second molars, increasing the risk that these may suffer from caries in areas that are difficult to restore and we may also have to extract them.
It also frequently happens that the eruption pathway is correct, but the jaws are too small to accommodate them.
When this happens, they either do not appear in the mouth, or they remain halfway out, leaving the gum on top of them like the visor of a cap. As we have seen before, this causes a lot of food, bacterial plaque and dirt to accumulate between the gum and the tooth, increasing the risk of caries, serious infections, pain, inflammation of the cheek, the appearance of pus and halitosis, among other symptoms.
Retained wisdom teeth in different positions
Wisdom tooth pain is one of the most intense pains, next to phlegmons, that we can experience. The most advisable thing to do in case of discomfort or pain caused by wisdom teeth is to visit your dentist, but we can use some remedies to treat the inflammation in the meanti