Wisdom teeth can impact your oral health. These teeth can be very annoying for you and they can cause problems if they don’t have enough space to emerge or if they come out in the wrong position. A common question of our patients is: Why do wisdom teeth come in so late? Why do sometimes they grow only once we’re adults? To answer this, first it is necessary to explain what are they:
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars placed at the back of the mouth, usually emerging sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. Often, these get stuck under the gum, are blocked from erupting, or don’t have enough room to come out, provoking discomfort or pain (impacted wisdom teeth). However, some people have wisdom teeth that emerge without any problems.
They are called that because they commonly appear when you’re older – which is, in theory – when you have a semblance of wisdom. A person will get four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom as part of the complete teeth set of 32 adult teeth. Like other teeth, a wisdom tooth can decay, get a cavity, become impacted, or get stuck below or in the gumline.
Now that we explained to you what wisdom teeth are, here are some of the reasons why they come in so late:
One answer lies in child development: there’s not enough space in a child’s jaw for wisdom teeth to emerge. But as kids grow, their jaws grow too, and there’s more room for wisdom teeth to come out. Still, many modern human jaws don’t grow enough for them to come in without a problem, which is why wisdom teeth removal is so common.
Not Needed In Young Adulthood
Another reason why wisdom teeth come in so late, is simply because they are not needed in young adulthood (kids usually don’t eat as much or as heavy as adults do). Most people commonly don’t lose their molars as children, which is why wisdom teeth wait until adulthood to emerge.
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that humans may no longer develop wisdom teeth in the future? Various experts in evolutionary history have explained that these may disappear from our structure as they are no longer necessary as they once were – our prehistoric ancestors used them to grind through raw meat, nuts, seeds, and rough plants) -, as we’ve evolved, we now consume considerably softer foods and have smaller jaws.
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Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Most problems caused by wisdom teeth are due to the fact that they just don’t fit or don’t have enough room to come out correctly. Wisdom teeth removal is usually necessary when the patient experiences any of the following conditions:
- Crooked teeth.
- Swollen gums.
- Crowded teeth.
- Tooth decay.
- Jaw pain.
- Cysts or tumors under the gums.
What Is A Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket, either because its damage is unrepairable or is detrimental to the patient’s oral health. Some of the most common causes of tooth extraction include impacted wisdom teeth and making space for other dental treatments, such as implants or braces.
Types of Tooth Extraction
There are two types of tooth extraction. The surgeon specialist will determine which of both types is the best for you, according to your needs and other factors like; location, condition, position, and tooth shape.
- Simple tooth extraction. This type of procedure is performed on visible teeth in the mouth. The dentist makes use of a tool called elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to take it out. The discomfort level in this type of treatment is commonly low, and recovery is usually easier.
- Surgical extraction. Performed on teeth that are not easily accessible in the mouth. This may be because they have not erupted through the gum completely, or they have been fractured under the gum line. It typically requires an incision to the connective tissue to gain access to the tooth to be removed, which makes it a more complex procedure than a simple extraction.
If you are noticing the first signs of your wisdom teeth breaking through – swelling, bleeding or tender gums, jaw pain, bad breath, bad taste in your mouth or visible small white specks at the back of your teeth – you are just in time to be evaluated by a dentist in Tijuana to prevent further health problems, whether they are visible or not. Contact us today at The Dental District to schedule an appointment!