Have you ever wondered why your third molars are called wisdom teeth, or why they are so-often the cause of so many dental problems? Unlike your other 28 teeth, the last four molars to erupt are frequently extracted, and since they don’t need replacement, their presence is often a source of confusion for many patients. To help clarify the existence of wisdom teeth, and the common need to extract them, we explore a few facts about the troublesome molars, and what you should do if they begin to give you trouble.
A Look at Third Molars
- The growth of your third molars, or wisdom teeth, does not grant any additional wisdom or insight. It is, however, a rite of passage, of sorts. The nickname originates from the fact that third molars typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, which was once referred to as “age of wisdom.”
- With the addition of the last set of molars, an adult mouth typically grows 32 permanent teeth. Unfortunately for many patients, an adult dental ridge may only accommodate the first 28 of them comfortably. Experts believe the molars are a remnant of ancestors who had bigger jaws, and who needed the extra chewing power to consume a rougher diet.
- Because of the restricted amount of room, wisdom teeth are often knocked off course by existing molars, and grow crooked as they try to erupt. As a result, impacted wisdom teeth may only partially erupt from your gum line, or not erupt at all, and the pain and potential damage can make wisdom tooth extraction a necessity.
- The good news is that impacted wisdom teeth are not something you will be forced to endure indefinitely. Minor oral surgery can help remove the problematic molars to prevent continued dental damage and relieve the discomfort.
ABOUT YOUR PELLA, IA, DENTIST:
Jeffrey F. Allen, DDS, provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call our office today at (641) 628-1121 to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.