Whether you are getting ready for an operation or trying to figure out why they are called wisdom teeth, today’s blog is here to help you explore what wisdom teeth are and how they can impact your life. Here at Trillium Dental, we offer a range of dental services for our clients, ranging from wisdom tooth removal (you’ll see what we mean below) to general check-ups, Invisalign treatment, teeth whitening, and more in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Called Wisdom Teeth?

Sadly, the wisdom teeth don’t automatically increase your wisdom. The real answer to why this third set of molars is called wisdom teeth has been cracked by linguists. The name comes from the late appearance of these teeth in a person’s life. This third set of molars usually show up during a person’s late teenage years or early twenties. Since this is about the same time that a person reaches adulthood, they seem to mark the point of maturity when people are “wiser”.

Many People Don’t Have Wisdom Teeth

This might become a point of jealousy at some point, but wisdom tooth development is a genetic matter and not everyone carries the genes for them. For instance, indigenous Mexican peoples have a 100% rate of not having wisdom teeth, while almost all European or African peoples develop wisdom teeth. Scientists have identified the gene PAX9 plays a big role in the development of wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Are Kinda Useless

Anthropologists theorize that the third set of molars appear because of evolutionary traits from when our ancestors didn’t have fire and ate coarse foods raw like leaves, roots, nuts, and meats. These required another set to spread out the wear on the molars. Today, we have access to fire, good oral hygiene, and proper dental nutrition so we don’t have worry about this. They also have no real impact on your ability to eat, and sometimes don’t even come in right or fit correctly.

Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Problems

Wisdom teeth can be terribly troublesome and cause a whole gambit of dental and periodontal issues. Even if your wisdom teeth have come in in a healthy manner without complications, it is still common that your dentist will suggest they are removed to prevent later, more expensive issues. Some of the common issues that can occur with the growth of wisdom teeth include:

Pericoronitis: As the tooth erupts (or gets pushed through your gums), it causes discomfort and pain, as well as unpleasant tastes and swelling that can be a bother.

Tooth Decay: Because of how far back they are in your mouth giving them proper hygiene is often times difficult and results in a high rate of cavities, which can lead to Pulpitis where the bacteria from the cavities infect the dental pulp. If untreated, this can cause severe issues in the periodontal structures of the mouth, and limit the livelihood and health of the affected person.

Impaction: Wisdom teeth can become impacted and get stuck resulting in inflammation, pain and discomfort, and potentially dangerous infections. In fact, the impactions can become so severe that some wisdom teeth try to come in sideways where they can damage other teeth and even force them into other positions much like a reverse brace of Invisalign treatment. Even without the risk of infections, this causes severe disruptions to a person’s comfort and livelihood.

Cysts: While impacted wisdom teeth can have cysts form around them as part of an immune reaction that can cause damage to the nerves in your jaw cysts around the upper set of wisdom teeth can cause sinus issues as it pushes into the cavities, including congestion, pain, and pressure.

Not Everyone Needs Their Wisdom Teeth Extracted

Sometimes extracting them wouldn’t be the best option even if it’s impacted. Though they are commonly removed, sometimes complications can occur where removal can cause potential nerve damage. In all cases, wisdom teeth are important to have checked out by your dentist to figure out what the best option is. Some cases may be referred to an oral surgeon for proper treatment and removal.

We hope that this blog has helped you understand a little bit about the nature of wisdom teeth and how they can affect your health. Here at Trillium Dental, we want to make sure that your health and wellness comes above all else. If you are in the Ottawa area, we provide high-quality and professional dental care from Invisalign treatment to teeth whitening, general checkups, and much more. Contact us today to learn more!