Wisdom Teeth: The Lowdown
We always hear about wisdom teeth, or more specifically we watch the funny viral videos people take of their friends and family when they’re coming out of the anesthesia after getting their wisdom teeth removed. It makes for great humor, but what are wisdom teeth, really?
Wisdom teeth are those molars that grow in after every other set of teeth already has, and they have a tendency to mess up all of your pretty—and expensive—orthodontic work. They tend to come in between age 17 and 25, though the age can be different for everyone.
So what purpose do they serve? Honestly, not a whole lot. They’re an outdated part of your oral anatomy. Early humans needed them to chew uncooked foods like nuts, roots, and meat. Nowadays, most people who have wisdom teeth don’t ever need to use them for that purpose. Over time, our mouths have started adapting to our lack of need for them. For some people, this means not ever developing wisdom teeth, which is great.
For others, not so much. Our mouths have gotten smaller over time, so now when wisdom teeth grow in, there are a bunch of different complications. For example, the lack of space can make your wisdom teeth grow in sideways and only partially emerge from your gums. This is called “partially impacted wisdom teeth,” and is a great way to trap bacteria and start infections. Also, wisdom teeth can get trapped in the gums and jawbone, also known as “impacted wisdom teeth.” When this happens, the teeth can get infected and change the position of your other molars.
On occasion, wisdom teeth can come in without getting partially or fully impacted. This doesn’t mean you’re safe, though. Wisdom teeth are so far back in your mouth that they are very hard to brush, and therefore easily susceptible to plaque, cavities, and gum disease.
If you’re starting to feel your wisdom teeth grow in, call Dr. Real. Everyone’s cases are different, and Dr. Real can assess yours specifically to determine what he thinks your best course of action will be. In order to make an appointment, call Dr. Real at (714) 282-5888.