Everything you need to know about wisdom teeth.
Your wisdom teeth can be quite painful, but what are they and what can be done to make sure that they cause you as little grief as possible. Read on to find out all you need to know.
It would be lovely to believe that the arrival of wisdom teeth genuinely make you wiser, but the background to this common nickname is that they tend to develop in your late teens (when you should hopefully be a tad wiser) while most of your other adult teeth have arrived a lot earlier.
First of all, let’s have a definition of what comprises a wisdom tooth. Quite simply, it's another name for your third molar tooth. And remember that your second molars will probably have arrived by the age of twelve or thirteen.
It’s also important to remember that some people are born without wisdom teeth, so there’s no nasty surprise lurking in the background and waiting to cause pain later in life. For others, the third molars may be deeply impacted, and never cause any concern.
The reason that so many people experience such problems with their wisdom teeth is that there is rarely enough room for them to come through nice and neatly, which means that you often get an impacted wisdom tooth, possibly leading to wisdom teeth extraction.
The reason that wisdom teeth often give problems is because there generally isn’t enough space for them to come through nicely, and as a result they often become impacted.
They can come part of the way through the gum, or perhaps to one side. And because they're so far back in your mouth, they’re hard to work on or to clean properly, so you can see the potential problems that they bring with them.
For many people, the wisdom teeth want to come into the gum in a straight-line, but because there’s not enough room, the jaw begins to curve upwards to accommodate them, causing the wisdom teeth to tilt somewhat – and eventually to become impacted.
Impacted teeth can then become infected, or suffer from cysts. It’s a very common condition, and up to seven out of ten people between 20 and 30 will suffer from the condition. If you make it to 30 without any problems, the problem seems to stabilize and cause far fewer problems.
If you have to have your wisdom teeth extracted, the good news is that they don’t really fulfil much of a function any more, At one stage in our development as a species, they would have been very useful for chewing raw meat and so on, but today, we can very easily do without them.
So don’t think for a minute that having your wisdom teeth will affect your overall dental health. Quite simply, if they're causing you pain and discomfort, it's time to wave goodbye to them, safe in the knowledge that you’ll do just fine without them.