Wisdom teeth are commonly the third and the last molars on each side of the lower and the upper jaws, which is why they are also referred to as the ‘third molars.’ Wisdom teeth usually emerge in a set of two on the top and two on the bottom, to complete the set of 32 adult teeth.
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They usually erupt when a person is in their late teens or even in the early twenties. This is one of the reasons why they are named so. They erupt after all the childhood teeth have disappeared, and at an older age, when young people are usually ‘wiser than a child.’
With age comes with wisdom, and hence the name— wisdom teeth.
What is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth don’t have any useful functional purpose as we don’t rely upon them for eating. In many adults, wisdom teeth are missing entirely; in others, they never come through fully.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth?
Since these are the last to emerge, usually, there is not much space left in the mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth. As a result, they cannot appear comfortably in a limited space without impacting other teeth.
This leads to impacted wisdom teeth, i.e., when teeth are trapped beneath the gum tissue, or by other teeth. The wisdom tooth, therefore, does not have enough room to come out from the gum like other teeth. The top reasons for wisdom teeth extractions are impaction or crowding.
Some people never face any trouble with wisdom tooth eruption. Impacted wisdom teeth can, however, cause problems for others.
What are the Few Possible Problems that Come with Wisdom Tooth Eruption?
- Sometimes, a wisdom tooth emerges only partially. In such a case, the tooth is covered with a flap of skin. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria as food debris gets trapped. It leads to gum infection and tooth decay.
- When there is not enough space in your mouth for the wisdom teeth, they get stuck in your jaws and gums. This may cause pain and discomfort.
- Sometimes, wisdom teeth come in sideways, which also causes discomfort. An impacted wisdom tooth may also cause an abscess around the tooth. This usually happens because it is difficult to clean around the affected tooth. It further leads to infections due to accumulated bacteria.
- Poor alignment of wisdom teeth often rubs the inside of your mouth. This may cause soreness and redness, thus making it difficult to speak and chew.
- Furthermore, wisdom teeth can also cause more significant problems such as painful tooth decay and cysts.
How to Maintain Healthy and Decay-Free Wisdom Teeth?
To maintain a healthy dental care routine, keep your teeth clean by brushing and flossing regularly. You can also use special single tufted mouth brushes, and these are especially useful to reach your wisdom tooth at the back end of your mouth.
You can also use mouthwash or mouth rinse, or opt for at home teeth whitening and teeth cleaning. Seeking professional help and regular visits for dental checkups will help you to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
When should I Extract Wisdom Teeth?
Sometimes, wisdom teeth emerge only partially or appear crooked. This usually causes pain and diseases due to crowding and impaction.
If teeth are extracted before the age of 20, they have less developed roots. Dentists usually recommend people between 16 and 19 to examine their wisdom teeth for extraction. The earlier the removals, the fewer are the complications.
Just because you have a wisdom tooth, doesn’t mean it must be extracted. Any surgical procedure only aims to benefit the patient and improve their health. If the teeth are not causing any problems, there is no need to get it out.
What is the Treatment for Wisdom Teeth?
Not everyone will need to remove the wisdom teeth. However, the reality for many people is that wisdom teeth are unable to grow normally, which may cause a problem, thus leading to extraction.
Dentists usually take an x-ray to determine whether the wisdom teeth could cause a potential problem in the future. The tooth extraction is a routine procedure performed by your dentists or an oral maxillofacial surgeon.
You may have to undergo a simple extraction or a surgical extraction, depending upon how far your tooth is out of your gum.
Many public-health experts don’t think it’s a good idea to take out otherwise healthy teeth. However, wisdom teeth with clear signs of disease should be extracted. Always remember to seek professional advice in such cases.
Wisdom Teeth and Orthodontic Treatment
Before getting orthodontic treatment, it is common to have several questions. You may wonder how long the orthodontic treatment will last? If standard braces will chafe your gums or if you can choose the dentist invisible braces? You may also wonder if the wisdom teeth would impact your treatment.
Don’t worry, and you are not the only one to be bothered by such questions. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about wisdom teeth and orthodontic treatment.
Can wisdom teeth affect teeth straightening?
No. Wisdom teeth have no positive impact on achieving orthodontic outcomes. It is entirely possible to straighten teeth with wisdom teeth present in your mouth or even if they are shifting. Studies have established that wisdom teeth do not exert enough pressure to misalign other teeth; they can, therefore, not affect the treatment.
Moreover, the treatment to improve your smile acts mainly on the teeth visible in your smile, which are usually the 10-12 teeth in the front.
Can wisdom teeth cause misalignment after braces?
This is another common misconception. Many people believe wisdom teeth cause misalignment. Wisdom teeth, however, exert a tiny force, which is so small that it cannot move other teeth.
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The shifting of teeth occurs naturally and more so as we grow older. Misalignment after braces occurs most often from not wearing retainers. This is why orthodontists insist on wearing a retainer after the treatment.
Can I have orthodontic treatment if I have wisdom teeth?
Yes, you can start with the orthodontic treatment even if wisdom teeth are present in your mouth. Your dentist will usually advise regular dental checkups and x-rays to evaluate changes to the wisdom teeth.
Can wisdom teeth be extracted before braces?
Sometimes, an orthodontist may recommend extracting wisdom teeth before the orthodontic treatment. The reasons may be varied depending upon individual cases. One of the reasons may be a crowded mouth, which may further create complications in the procedure.
Can wisdom teeth be extracted with braces?
Yes, if your wisdom tooth is impacted, it can simply be extracted in an outpatient surgical procedure even if you are currently wearing braces. Make sure to get your dentist’s or orthodontist’s opinion before coming to any conclusion.
Summing it Up
It is essential to discuss orthodontic treatment with your orthodontist actively. An x-ray of your teeth and jaws helps to get a closer look at your wisdom teeth, and your dentist can thus advise on actions that won’t impact your newly aligned teeth.