Wisdom teeth, the last adult teeth to grow in the rear of the mouth, are notorious for being the trouble makers of your teeth. Your teeth may have all grown in and are “getting along” and then they come in and make problems. But this isn’t always true. Often wisdom teeth come in without any issues.
Dr. Albert Caves provides high-quality dental care and patient education to people in the Columbus, GA area. Learn about wisdom teeth and whether you might need your wisdom teeth removed.
Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth usually grow in between the ages of 17-25, which may be why they’re referred to as “wisdom” teeth since this is the age when young people traditionally leave home to “seek wisdom.”
Their clinical name is “third molars” as they are very much like the first two sets of molars that develop in childhood and adolescence. You might remember feeling a bit of discomfort in middle school when your second set of molars was still growing in. This third set of molars comes in very much the same, but this time there’s even less room for them to move around.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Dentists look for specific indicators that signal a possible need for removing wisdom teeth.
- Pericoronitis: When wisdom teeth begin erupting (coming out) of the gums, a flap of gum tissue can be leftover, which may trap food particles and naturally-occurring oral bacteria. This can lead to an infection, called pericoronitis, which irritates the surrounding gums. This condition makes cleaning the area even more difficult to clean and can occur even when the wisdom teeth have not yet erupted.
- They become impacted: Many people think “impacted” is synonymous with “infected” but this is not always true. When the soon-to-emerge wisdom teeth are blocked by existing teeth and are unable to erupt, they are referred to as impacted. While some people may experience pain or discomfort when this happens, many others aren’t even aware they have impacted wisdom teeth until a dentist finds it on an X-ray.
- The dentist suspects a risk of future problems: If your dentist determines that, by allowing your wisdom teeth to remain, there is a risk of future problems, they may suggest extraction. The extraction process is easier on younger patients, so even if you haven’t experienced any problems yet, your dentist may recommend their removal to prevent a more difficult future procedure.
Conservative Wisdom Teeth Treatment
It’s important to understand that not everyone will need their wisdom teeth removed. Sometimes they come in without issue, or can be managed without surgery. There are several factors that need to be taken into account, so it’s important to have routine dental check-ups, especially as a teen and young adult. Patients in the Columbus, GA area who want to learn more about wisdom teeth removal can schedule an appointment with Dr. Caves online or call (706) 407-4851 to schedule.