Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop in the human mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth, but some individuals may have fewer or even none at all. These teeth typically start to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25, which is why they are commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” since they emerge during the age when a person is considered to be wiser.
Wisdom teeth were more useful to our ancestors who had larger jaws and needed the extra teeth for chewing tough and coarse foods. However, over time, human jaws have become smaller, and most people’s mouths do not have enough space to accommodate the wisdom teeth properly. As a result, these teeth can become impacted, meaning they do not have enough room to fully emerge or grow in a straight position.
Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to various dental problems, including pain, infection, gum disease, and damage to neighboring teeth. Dentists often recommend removing wisdom teeth to prevent such issues, especially if they are causing discomfort or if there is a risk of complications. The extraction procedure is usually performed by an oral surgeon or a dentist with specialized training.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have enough space in their jaws to accommodate these teeth without causing problems. In such cases, regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the condition of the wisdom teeth and ensure they are not causing any issues.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the area where your wisdom teeth are erupting, it is advisable to consult with an oral surgeon. They can evaluate your situation, take X-rays to assess the position of the teeth, and recommend the appropriate course of action, which may include extraction or ongoing monitoring.