Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to appear in our mouths. Many healthcare providers are of the opinion that wisdom teeth no longer serve a useful function. So why do we have wisdom teeth at all?
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth appear, or “erupt”, in the very back of our mouths. They usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 23, making them the last permanent teeth to appear in our mouths. They’re called “wisdom” teeth because they appear at a more mature age than your other permanent teeth.
Wisdom teeth once played an essential role in human nutrition. Our distant ancestors lived on a diet that consisted of rough, coarse foods such as raw plants and tubers, tough uncooked meats, and hard nuts and seeds. Wisdom teeth were used to grind these materials into a more digestible form.
However, as humans began to consume prepared and processed foods, the need for wisdom teeth began to diminish. Today, some consider the wisdom tooth to be a “vestigial” body part — a body part that used to serve a useful purpose but no longer does.
How Many Wisdom Teeth Do You Have?
Your wisdom teeth are located behind the second molars, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as third molars. Most people grow four molar teeth, one in each quadrant — upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. We say “most” because some people have extra wisdom teeth (called supernumerary teeth), while others don’t have any erupted wisdom teeth.
What Age Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?
Wisdom teeth appear at a later age than other permanent teeth, usually between the ages of 17-23 years old. However, some people never get wisdom teeth, no matter how old they are.
Can Wisdom Teeth Grow Back?
A wisdom tooth that’s been removed won’t grow back, at least not like a permanent tooth replacing a baby tooth. Some people have extra wisdom teeth called supernumerary teeth. When a wisdom tooth is removed, a supernumerary tooth may erupt in its place.
Do You Have To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth are a problem many people experience. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that erupt only partially or not at all. In many cases, impacted wisdom teeth fail to develop normally, growing at strange angles in relation to the mouth, jawbone, and other teeth.
Partially erupted wisdom teeth can result in a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Damage to nearby teeth and surrounding bone
- Development of a fluid-filled sac called a cyst
Removing an impacted wisdom tooth is a common dental procedure. Because of the risk of damage to the nerves running beneath the jaws, dentists generally remove the lower wisdom teeth only when necessary.
Surgery is used to remove an impacted wisdom tooth. The wisdom tooth removal procedure usually takes about 40-90 minutes to complete. It may take a bit longer if your wisdom teeth are in an odd position or if there are some unexpected complications. Multiple wisdom teeth can be removed during a single procedure.
Patients may experience mild pain and swelling for a few days after the procedure. The pain is usually treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling. The extraction site may feel a little tender for several days. Most patients fully recover within 7 days or less.
Where Can I Get a Wisdom Tooth Removed in San Marcos, TX?
If you are suffering from wisdom tooth pain in San Marcos, TX, contact The Dental Space today to schedule an exam. The Dental Space is a San Marcos, TX family dentist clinic that provides a full spectrum of family dental services, including checkups and cleanings, root canals, extractions, teeth whitening, crowns, fillings, and yes, wisdom tooth removal. We use the most advanced equipment and pain-free procedures to treat our patients.
You can schedule an appointment at The Dental Space through our website or call us at 512-667-9770. We serve patients of all ages, from infants as young as six months to seniors 65 and over. Emergency, same-day dental services are available. If it’s been a while since you visited the dentist, schedule an appointment today — we always welcome new patients!
The Dental Space is located at 1101 Thorpe Ln, Suite 101, in San Marcos, TX, just off IH 35 in the Springtown Center Shopping Mall. We accept most PPO plans, Medicaid, and CHIP and provide patients with a wide range of payment options.