Most people know a handful of things about wisdom teeth: we usually only think of them when they need to be removed. When they are taken out, your jaw will hurt and swell up, and afterwards, you get to eat ice cream (undoubtedly the favourite part for most people). However, there is more to them than that:
- Wisdom teeth are technically called third molars. Third molars typically come through the gums around the age of 17-21, a time that was once referred to as the “age of wisdom”.
- Most have to be removed. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an estimated 85% of wisdom teeth eventually need removal.
- 35% of us are born without wisdom teeth.
- Wisdom teeth are the only teeth not formed in the womb.
- Because most people opt for surgery to remove their wisdom teeth, researchers are searching for ways to prevent their growth altogether.
- 90% of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Why Extract Wisdom Teeth?
A wisdom tooth is extracted to prevent future problems or to correct an existing issue. Some of the problems that can occur with wisdom teeth are:
- Your wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, creating a flap of gum tissue to cover them. Food and germs can then be trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become infected.
- Your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate them, and if they cannot break through the gums, they may grow into other teeth. This is called an impaction.
- Impacted teeth can cause severe problems, including infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or cysts.
- One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backwards, or to either side.
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