You probably know a few things about wisdom teeth – they can be a nuisance, they are usually removed, and afterwards, you look like a chipmunk while you eat ice cream and milk shakes.
However, there’s a lot more to your wisdom teeth!
Here are some things you may find surprising:
Wisdom teeth are actually called third molars. They got their nickname from the age when they typically grow in. Third molars do not appear until the dental arch becomes larger, around the age of 17-25…a time also referred to as the “age of wisdom.”
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an estimated 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed. This can be because the teeth are impacted or because the area is difficult to reach and difficult to clean.
Thirty-five percent of the population is born without wisdom teeth. Whether our teeth have evolved or culture is responsible is up for debate. But it seems humans no longer need these teeth for survival.
Wisdom teeth are the only teeth not formed in the womb. While most people have four wisdom teeth, having more (supernumerary teeth) or less (hypodontia) is possible.
Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. When there isn’t enough room for a tooth to enter the mouth fully, it is called “impacted.” If left in the mouth, it may damage neighboring teeth, or become decayed due to the difficulty in reaching and cleaning that area of the mouth and gums.
The most common consequence of impacted wisdom teeth is gum (periodontal) disease.
If wisdom teeth need to be removed, it is best to remove them at a younger age rather than waiting until periodontal disease becomes a problem. The removal of your wisdom teeth is a decision that should be made by you and your dentist.
At StarWhite Dental, we specialize in the treatment and removal of wisdom teeth. Call us for a consultation at (951) 698-4426. We can determine the presence of your or your child’s wisdom teeth, and discuss your treatment options.