Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Questions And Answers About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are popular topics in the dental community. Due to the pain that they can cause, they can also be the bane of one's existence if they grow in crooked, which they often do.  The good news is that treating wisdom teeth has become fairly common. In fact, about 10 million wisdom teeth are removed from people in the United States each year. 

The more you know about these molars, the more prepared you will be if a problem arises with yours. Here are a few questions and answers about wisdom teeth:

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, which are also called third molars, aren't named for their intellectual properties, but you could say that they come with age. By the end of your teenage years, your four wisdom teeth should have appeared.

They are the molars that are hidden way in the back of your mouth on each side of the upper and lower palates. They are useful for grinding up food before it is ingested, but wisdom teeth are superfluous. You don't need them to have a completely healthy or normal mouth. In fact, you probably know quite a few people who have had their wisdom teeth removed.

What problems are prone to arise with wisdom teeth?

If your wisdom teeth grow in perfectly straight, then you may not experience a problem with them. However, this is rarely the case, and most people experience some kind of complication, such as misalignment or impaction, which occurs when the teeth are lodged deeply in the gums and can't erupt properly.

Misalignment and impaction can cause the rest of your adult teeth to become crooked, which can lead to pain or the need for braces. Since wisdom teeth rest so far in the back of the mouth, they are especially prone to tooth decay and plaque. Even if they don't hurt, problems could still arise at some point.

What can you expect from a wisdom tooth extraction?

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure for dental specialists. An oral surgeon can remove them in less than an hour, and you can be anesthetized for the procedure.

The treatment is different for everyone, and sometimes the dentist may have to cut into the gums to fully remove the teeth. Still, a few dissolvable stitches are not a large price to pay for impacted wisdom teeth that could distort your jaw alignment, irritate your sinuses, or inflame your gums.

For more information about your wisdom teeth and the options available to you, visit your local dental professional. He or she can advise of you of whether or not treatment is needed for your third molars.