Wisdom teeth are also known as the final set of molars because they grow in last. They usually break through in the late teens to the early twenties, the same age people are said to acquire “wisdom”, hence the name of the teeth. However, problems occur when there's no longer enough space for the wisdom tooth.
What are the wisdom teeth for?
Many are curious on the purpose of wisdom teeth. They seem to offer no use so why do people grow them. One theory dating back to our ancestors says that people back then needed an extra set of molars so they could chew and grind hard food. These were the times when foods were raw and uncooked. It's far from the situation we enjoy today and also one reason cited why some no longer grow their wisdom teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth grow in at an angle?
Throughout human evolution, jaws have become smaller which is why wisdom teeth don't grow in straight. They either become impacted or surrounding teeth block their way.
If the wisdom teeth erupt only partially, this can pose dental problems. Food can get stuck in the gum tissue and lead to infections. Even surrounding teeth can get affected when the final set of molars get impacted. Hence, during these instances, your dentist may suggest to have the teeth extracted rather than cause further damage to your teeth.
Some wisdom teeth grow straight and no longer require removal. They also don't cause any issues and the person can enjoy a healthy set of teeth.
When Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Crucial?
Here are more reasons why it's best to take out the wisdom teeth:
- Cavities develop. When gums become swollen and recede, they form pockets where bacteria breed and cavities develop.
- Gums become inflamed. Once tissue around the teeth swell, the area becomes harder to clean too. You will need professional help from your dentist or registered dental hygienist.
- They Interfere with teeth alignment. Even if you're already done wearing braces or other teeth alignment procedures, impacted teeth may cause alignment issues again.
How Do You Prepare for a Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
Wisdom extraction is a common procedure performed in the dental office. The process involves receiving local anesthetic. With that said, for your convenience, make sure to bring someone you trust with you to keep you company in the dental office and to drive you home as well.
If the area swells after the procedure, don't worry - this is a natural reaction and the swelling should subside within 24 hours. You can apply a cold compress on your cheek to reduce swelling. It's best to stay at home the entire day for rest.
Get plenty of sleep to help speed up the healing process. In the meantime, stick to soft foods and skip brushing your teeth for a day. You need to keep fluids out of your mouth, which means rinsing is not advisable as well.
Be sure to follow your dentist's reminders to help speed up healing. Protect the stitches from harsh food and keep up with your dental visits so your dentist can check the progress of the wisdom teeth extraction procedure.