What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The last teeth to come in, wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on both sides of your upper and lower jaws. They usually appear sometime in your late teens or early 20s, depending on the individual. Nobody really knows why we have them, since they come in late and often cause more problems instead of helping. Unlike other teeth, they don't even start growing in the jaw until you're around seven years old.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Because they cause so many problems, these late teeth are commonly removed. If they have already caused an infection, you may need to wait for surgery. In order to prepare for wisdom teeth extraction, your oral surgeon will numb your mouth, either with a local or general anesthetic. Then he/she will open up the gum tissue and remove any bone which is covering the tooth, possibly cutting them into pieces to make them easier to remove. You may need stitches, and the dentist will cover the area with gauze. Most people recover in just a few days, during which time they relax, eat soft foods, and keep the area clean.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Cause So Many Problems?
When wisdom teeth come in properly and have room to fit comfortably in your mouth, they usually cause little discomfort or concern. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes they don't have enough room to come in, so they either are stuck (impacted) in your jaw or can only break through part of the way. They could also come in crooked, or facing in the wrong direction. Because they are so far back in your mouth, it may be extremely difficult to clean them properly, leading to cavities or gum problems. They could even form cysts and damage your bone or roots. When any of these situations occur, you will find yourself experiencing symptoms such as pain, jaw stiffness or swelling. You should see your dental specialist regularly so that they can use digital x-rays to keep track of your them and provide treatment as soon as possible.