Named because they are the last teeth that we develop, wisdom teeth are molars that appear right at the back of our mouths when we are approximately 17 to 25 years old. Large and flat topped, their broad biting surface makes them perfect for grinding and crushing food.
Unfortunately not everyone has room in their mouth for these extra teeth, which means that wisdom teeth can sometimes become problematic and require treatment. Here’s what your dentist wants you to know about these late dental additions.
Does everyone have wisdom teeth?
No, not everyone will develop wisdom teeth. You can end up with anything between zero and four wisdom teeth appearing – one in each back corner of your mouth – and it’s theorized that the reason for their gradual disappearance is because they are no longer necessary for us as a result of changes in our diet.
Why can wisdom teeth cause problems?
For many people, wisdom teeth develop smoothly with nothing more than a slight discomfort that disappears once the tooth is fully in position. However for other people they can cause painful complications that may require dental treatment.
One reason that emerging wisdom teeth can result in difficulties is that they can become impacted. This happens when there isn’t enough space for them and they come through at an awkward angle, pressing against your existing teeth.
This can cause pain and inflammation, but also makes your teeth harder to clean – making them more vulnerable to issues such as tooth decay. In particular if the tooth is still partially covered by the gum, bacteria and little bits of food can easily become trapped and this can lead to infection.
What should I do if I am having trouble with my wisdom teeth?
The most important things to do when it comes to dental issues are firstly maintaining a good oral health routine at home and secondly making regular appointments with your dentist. A good dental surgery such as Sunshine Dental will be able to assess the condition of your wisdom teeth and advise you on whether or not they need to be removed.
There are a number of symptoms you should look out for, including pain, swollen or bleeding gums, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, bad breath, and headaches. These are all signs that you should get checked out by your dentist. It’s really important not to ignore the warning signs, because leaving a problematic wisdom tooth unchecked can only lead to further complications.
At home, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two or three minutes, using gentle circular motions and covering all sides of your teeth. In addition you should use floss and mouthwash to clean them more thoroughly, particularly in the hard to reach areas between your teeth.
It’s best to avoid sugary foods and sodas because these can cause tooth decay and will risk aggravating any problems you have with your wisdom teeth even further. Instead stick to water, green tea and plenty of fruit and veg!