Maybe a dentist has told you that you need your wisdom teeth need to come out. Maybe you’re just naturally curious. Either way, here’s all you ever wanted to know about the wisdom teeth:
- Where Did They Get Their Name?
While having them erupt won’t actually make you wiser (sadly), they tend to appear between age 17 and 25. This period is sometimes referred to as the age of wisdom; hence the name for these teeth.
- Why Do Wisdom Teeth Impact?
Maybe you’re wondering, “Is there a maxillofacial surgeon near me that could explain why these teeth are suddenly such a problem?” Yes, there is, and likely they would tell you that your wisdom teeth just don’t have enough room to develop. Long ago, poor dental hygiene meant there was room for third molars like the wisdom teeth to come out because the average person had lost a tooth or two by the time the wisdom teeth erupted. Today, our good dental hygiene means we don’t lose our teeth so early. Of course this is largely a good thing, as it means our lives are generally more comfortable in the long term. The tradeoff is less room in our jaws for all those teeth, meaning that many people will experience an ingrown tooth or some other issue related to those back molars.
- What Happens if I Skip Wisdom Tooth Removal I Need?
Nothing good. Impacted wisdom teeth cause jaw and mouth pain, make it difficult to chew, and can create pockets in the mouth where bacteria can hide. That bacteria can grow, and your immune system start working overtime to fight it constantly. You might have a fever, gum pain, or get a serious infection.
- Can I find a maxillofacial surgeon near me who will just let me wait till the tooth causes me so much trouble I have to get it removed?
The older you get, the harder it becomes to do a wisdom tooth extraction. Wait too long and you may very much regret it.
- Does Everyone Have the Same Problem?
Nope. Life is just not fair. Some people have four wisdom teeth, but some people don’t. It’s all about genetics, as so many things are. Among Europeans, for example, approximately 10-25% of people are missing at least one of the four. Again due to genetic factors, nearly 35% of the American population is born without any wisdom teeth at all. Your East Asian friend will probably never need to ask “is there a maxillofacial surgeon near me?”
- It’s Not as Hard to Remove Them As Rumor Would Have It
Everyone seems to know someone with a tooth removal surgery horror story, but the reality is that 5 million people in the United States have wisdom tooth removal at some point. That’s plenty of practice for an oral doctors. You’re not going to feel anything while the removal is going on, and while no one is saying it’ll be painless afterward, pain relieving medications, ice, and lots of ice cream will help. You can be guaranteed some sympathy from all your friends, too, so you can plan to hole up with movies and milkshakes for a few days. You’ll want to avoid alcohol for and brush your teeth gently for a while, but most people are able to back to work or school on Monday after a Friday procedure.
Now you know all about the wisdom teeth!