Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars to come in and are found at the very back of the mouth. They appear long after the rest of the adult teeth have come in, hence the term wisdom teeth. In most cases, people’s wisdom teeth start to emerge or break through the gum line in the late teens or early twenties and cause varying degrees of discomfort.
So why do we grow these teeth that we don’t even need? The answer is that we used to need them. Our ancestors ate tough, raw meat that required grinding and chewing. The wisdom teeth are the evolutionary remnants of the molars required for this primal diet. While most people still grow wisdom teeth, a few people get lucky and do not.
In some cases, wisdom teeth grow in straight and align with the rest of the teeth. Your dentist may not feel the need to remove the wisdom teeth if they grow in properly. But in many cases, wisdom teeth grow in crooked and cause big problems later.
When wisdom teeth grow in crooked, they may negatively affect the surrounding teeth. The misaligned wisdom teeth may crowd or damage the adjacent teeth, damaging the jaw and the nerves.
Your Utah dentist can professionally remove a crooked wisdom tooth. If you are unsure if your erupting wisdom teeth will negatively affect your mouth, the field of family dentistry in Utah is full of competent practitioners to help.
In addition to being misaligned, wisdom teeth can be impacted, which means that they cannot break through the gum line because another tooth is in the way. If there is not enough room for a wisdom tooth to erupt, you may experience mouth pain, gum damage, damage to the jaw line or to the other teeth, and even infection.
After a thorough examination, your dentist can suggest options for dealing with your wisdom teeth. If they recommend extraction, they can help you know what to expect during the procedure.