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Your Frequent Wisdom Teeth Questions – Answered!


Dentist in Vernon Hills

There are certain rites of passage that almost all humans go through: taking our first steps, losing our first tooth, and getting our driver’s license are monumental moments in many of our lives. While most of the aches and pains of growing up happen early in life, growing our last set of teeth happens almost a decade or more after the rest of our teeth have grown in! This is well past the age most of us have stopped growing, and it can be a confusing time as we struggle with growing pains as an adult. While most of us will have our wisdom teeth removed, we’re still left questioning what the purpose of these additional teeth even are and what impact they may have if left intact. Today, we’re delving deep into wisdom teeth to answer some of your most pressing questions!

What is the purpose of wisdom teeth?

Generations ago, human beings had a diet that looked a bit different than ours does today and we needed extra chewing power to help break down tough textured foods. Late-erupting wisdom teeth helped provide that force. As we evolved, our diets have changed and our jaws have shrunk, but our teeth haven’t quite kept up with the times, meaning many of us will still grow this additional set of teeth.

When do most people get their wisdom teeth?

Your wisdom teeth will begin forming about a decade before they erupt. For most people, this means their formation starts between the ages of 7 and 10, but the teeth don’t make their appearance until the late teens or early twenties. Studies have shown that men are more likely to get their wisdom teeth earlier than women, but the age of eruption will vary greatly from person to person.

What are the signs of eruption?

Your wisdom teeth, also called third molars, will likely cause some discomfort as they emerge. Everyone’s experience will be different, but moderate pain and soreness is typical of erupting molars. Usually, this pain can be alleviated with over the counter painkillers or by rinsing with warm saltwater. If you experience pain that is severe or you feel pressure in the back of your jaw, your teeth may be experiencing complications erupting and you should consult your dentist.

Why do we have them removed?

Studies have shown that roughly 4 in 5 people will need to have their third molars removed. One of the reasons your dentist may recommend extraction is if the tooth is impacted, meaning it cannot break through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to increased risk of infection, swelling, and pain. If you experience extreme pain, redness, or notice a cyst forming on your gums, you may have an impacted wisdom tooth. Alternatively, your dentist may suggest removing your wisdom teeth because their eruption could crowd the teeth that are already in your mouth, causing them to shift position and your bite and smile to change.

If you think your wisdom teeth are coming in, consult your dentist today about your best course of action! To schedule your next appointment, give us a call at Metro Square Dental Associates in Vernon Hills!

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If you have a general question, comment, or need to schedule an appointment, feel free to send us a message! For emergencies, or to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please call our office at:
(847) 680-7171