Human beings have evolved over the centuries and, as they've done so, may now possess certain "assets" that are superfluous to their needs. Wisdom teeth are one such example, and many people now have four of these that they may never get to use. If you've just become familiar with these unwanted teeth in your own mouth, you may be considering your options and wondering what you should do to move forward. So, what do you need to know?
Why Wisdom Teeth Are Now Superfluous
The wisdom teeth are situated at the very back of your mouth behind the other molars on each corner. At a time when the human bone structure was somewhat different, and the head was more elongated, these teeth could break through into the mouth in the same way as all the others. And these teeth were necessary to deal with the much more basic diet of those times when they were required to help tear and crush tough plants or raw meats.
Today, there simply isn't enough room for these teeth in normal circumstances, and if you still have all your original teeth, you may encounter problems as the wisdom teeth try to break through.
In some people, these teeth will just stay in place and not make any attempt to erupt. In other cases, they will do their best to move forward and, in doing so, may be prevented by the other molars and surrounding bone.
In this case, problems may develop. As the wisdom teeth get stuck against the other teeth in front, they can cause pressure and pain. They may cause the existing molars to twist, making them more difficult to clean.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth will start to break through the gum line but not be able to go any further. This is known as being "partially erupted" and can often lead to sore gums, swelling, and inflammation. Unfortunately, food can easily get trapped under the gum line and can cause infections.
If you encounter a partially erupted wisdom tooth, you must talk with your dentist. They'll help deal with any immediate inflammation or infection but may recommend removing the offending tooth. This can often be done in the office under local anesthetic, but each case is different. Occasionally, the dentist will dissect the tooth in place, making it easier to extract, and this is often the cleanest technique.
Get Further Advice
Get in touch with your dentist to learn more.