If there was a tooth popularity test, the wisdom tooth would come last. Sadly for them they have received a very bad reputation over the years. They push and shove their way into the mouth sometimes and that could be why!
Wisdom teeth are so named because they tend to erupt when you are in your late teens/early adulthood and apparently “wiser”. Although we are not so sure about the wise part! They are very similar to the other molars and essentially a third molar that can help with chewing and biting.
Most important thing to remember is that not all wisdom teeth need to be removed!
As with anything, it depends on the particular case and person.
Top reasons to remove a wisdom tooth:
1) Unable to clean it properly due to position
2) Decay (that is not possible to be filled to an acceptable standard)
3) Pain (recurrent pain around the gums of the wisdom teeth)
4) Affecting the tooth in front of it- higher risk of decay/bone loss
How many wisdom teeth should I have?
People have anywhere between 0-4 wisdom teeth. Sometimes they can have additional teeth (named supernumeraries) that can total more than 4 although this is rare.
Do wisdom teeth cause crowding?
There used to be a thought that wisdom teeth “push” the other teeth forward and out of alignment creating crowding on the lower front teeth. This theory has been dismissed and the teeth naturally drift forward with the narrowing of the jaw as you get older. This is why, even people with no wisdom teeth develop the same type of crowding as they get older.
So I don’t need to get them removed preventatively?
This really depends on your particular case. If it looks likely that your teeth may cause problems in the future, your dentist may tell you to remove it while you are younger and can heal faster. There may be an option for you to wait and see but your dentist will let you know. If the wisdom teeth are ever half-erupted (covered by gum), then more than often they need to be removed because there is no way of cleaning it properly. Most of the time, if your bottom wisdom teeth are removed, your upper ones have to be removed as well, because they will continue to erupt and eventually even touch the gum on the bottom.
So if you’re not sure if you wisdom teeth are wise, come in and let us have a look and then we can decide what to do. We also have an X-ray machine (OPG) that can take wisdom tooth X-rays in-house so we can decide what to do straightaway!
Remember, don’t blame your wisdom tooth, it’s not their fault!