The Oral Issue Everyone Has Thanks to Evolution
Wisdom teeth are the last four teeth to erupt, and the ones furthest back in your jaw. These are also called your third molars. Because of their name, they are often falsely associated with the development of the brain, but there is actually no correlation between wisdom and the eruption of your third molars.
The wisdom teeth grow out of the gums usually between the ages of 17 to 21. This is the time when modern society considers us nearing or past adult age (i.e. 18 years old), and people begin expecting some wisdom from us. Or so the legend goes.
It’s not guaranteed that the third molar will always erupt in this time frame. Just as uncertain, is whether the third molar will come up in its proper position. Many times, wisdom teeth (one, some, or all of them) may not fully appear. They may only partially come out of the jaw bone or get impacted within it. This is because they are the last teeth to come up in the oral cavity, and the rest of the teeth fill up the available space.
As humans have evolved, our jaws have become smaller, not sparing space for last molars to grow in. This is called Impacted Wisdom Teeth Syndrome. Third molars were very functional for our ancestors, who had to use all their back teeth to grind down more fibrous and harder food sources than we have today.
Around age twenty, our whole skeletal structure stops growing. When wisdom teeth try to erupt they do not get space in the jaws, as bone growth is almost none-existent. The force of the wisdom teeth developing from the jaw through the gums causes inflammation in the surrounding tissues. This inflammation leads to pain, swelling, bleeding, and occasionally fever, in those who have a low pain threshold. Pain relief can come from medications for a while, but the pain may occur again after a few months, as the body will continue to press until the wisdom tooth occupies a proper spot in the mouth.
Ignoring the pain and swollen gums may lead to abscess and even more severe pain, which can travel up into your head and down your neck. Pain can be so severe that suffers don’t brush sufficiently and food gets lodged into the area, infecting the gums.
Extraction of the troubling wisdom tooth won’t affect your chewing, but you can remove a problem before it develops. After a dental examination, your local Fort Worth dentist can advise which option is best for you. Many wisdom teeth are removed during sedation dentistry. If there is an opposing wisdom tooth which is also impacted, you may get two teeth extracted in one sitting, depending upon your overall health.
For some patients, impacted wisdom teeth remain dormant and do not cause much trouble. Some people spend their whole lives with impacted wisdom teeth inside jaws and have no problems. But even in these cases, there are chances of crowding in the teeth, causing misalignment and associated problems like gingivitis, staining, bone loss, decay, etc…
Swollen mouth and cheek as a result of an impacted wisdom tooth.
For temporary relief, one can take a general pain killer tablet or do warm salt water rinses. But if the pain is severe, proper diagnosis by the dentist is a must.
For a permanent cure of the problem, you can get rid of painfully impacted wisdom teeth by getting them pulled. Extraction of impacted wisdom teeth is a minor surgical procedure done under local anaesthesia. The duration of the surgery depends upon severity of impaction and skills of the dentist. You would be more comfortable to get the procedure done when the tooth is asymptomatic, so be sure to visit your dentist at the first signs of an erupting third molar.
Impacted wisdom teeth may also cause cyst development in the future, so do not ignore any problem associated with third molars. Be sure to have your very back teeth checked at your next annual dental examination. It’s the wise thing to do.