Everyone is born with at least two sets of molars—those teeth at the back of your mouth that help you chew things like meat—and the vast majority of people also get a third set of molars. These teeth generally don’t erupt (break through the gums) until a later age, around 17 to 25 years old. Since you’re older and wiser by the time they show up, these third molars have come to be known as “wisdom teeth”.
There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions out there about wisdom teeth, so we’ll take a few minutes here to clear things up.
Since we take pretty good care of our teeth these days, we usually don’t need another set of molars to replace teeth that have become damaged or decayed by our late teens or early 20s, so from an evolutionary standpoint wisdom teeth are now unnecessary for most people. That doesn’t mean, however, that they need to be removed. If your wisdom teeth are coming in properly and they are in correct alignment, you can leave them alone.
The problem for most people is that either the teeth don’t erupt entirely through the gums, leaving them prone to infection or other complications, or when they do erupt they cause problems for the alignment of other teeth. Most people have had their orthodontic work done by the time wisdom teeth come in, so if they are going to cause your other teeth to shift out of alignment, it’s probably worth having them removed.
The truth is that not everyone has these molars, and some people might only have partial sets. A full set of wisdom teeth would include four molars (one in each quadrant of your mouth), but some people may only have a partial set, and a few have no wisdom teeth at all. However, just because you can’t see wisdom teeth breaking through the gums doesn’t mean you don’t have them—they may be there but just never break through the gums, but they may still cause problems and should be examined by your Boise dentist.
In some cases this might be true, but it’s not necessarily correct for everyone. There is a risk that wisdom teeth erupting can cause other teeth to shift, so if your dentist in Boise thinks this is a risk and you have already had orthodontic treatments done, you can have them removed to prevent any risk. There could be other more pressing concerns that would lead you to get them extracted, such as infection, swelling, and bacteria buildup around the site of the teeth erupting.
This is actually not a myth, and while the recovery process is different for everyone, generally speaking it will be easier for someone who is younger. That’s because when you’re young the root of the tooth is not fully developed, and your bones are not as dense. These two factors usually contribute to a shorter healing time and less pain following a wisdom teeth removal procedure in Boise.
If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, talk to your Boise dentist today to find out if you have them, and whether he or she would recommend removal.