Have you ever wondered what wisdom teeth are and why they exist? Maybe all you know about them is that they seem to cause a lot of problems and often need to be removed.
At Temple Dental Trails, we don’t expect you to be a dental expert, but we do want you to be informed about issues like wisdom teeth that can have a negative impact on your oral health.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the molars farthest back in your mouth, also referred to as third molars. Typically, there are four wisdom teeth with two on top and two on the bottom; however, everyone is different, and some people never get them at all.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Exist?
In ancient times, our ancestors needed more chewing power to process a coarse diet of roots, leaves, nuts, and meat. Wisdom teeth are a throwback to those times, but with a modern diet of processed foods, they no longer serve a real purpose.
In fact, since our jaws have gotten smaller as we’ve evolved, wisdom teeth can crowd surrounding teeth or only erupt partially. Since wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth, cleaning them adequately is also a challenge.
Why Is Extraction Necessary?
Facing problems with wisdom teeth is common. In most cases, we generally recommend extracting them early because they usually do more harm the longer you keep them. If wisdom teeth are allowed to remain, problems can develop, and they will eventually need to be removed anyway.
Everyone has unique needs, but in general, here are three signs that mean extracting a wisdom tooth might be a good idea:
- Your wisdom teeth hurt – Pain anywhere in your mouth is not normal, and pain around your wisdom teeth usually indicates that you either have a cavity forming or an infection developing.
- The gum around your wisdom teeth is inflamed – Gum tissue around wisdom teeth can become tender and inflamed, making proper oral hygiene painful. In turn, this leads to gum disease and other dental conditions such as cavities.
- You notice a cavity on your wisdom tooth – When you let a cavity go for too long, it will eventually cause pain and infection. In some cases, the bacteria may even spread to adjacent teeth as well, teeth that you actually want to keep.
Please Call Our Office to Learn More
If you notice any of the above symptoms or you would like more information about wisdom teeth extractions, please call our Temple, TX dental office. Dr. Richard Leung will be happy to evaluate your needs and make appropriate recommendations for dealing with your wisdom teeth.