Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. Some say the reason they're called wisdom teeth is that they usually don't appear until a person reaches adulthood, hence the association with wisdom. Nobody really knows for sure why the third molars are called wisdom teeth, but whether the theory is true or not, these teeth have been known to cause plenty of problems, and for some, they are a total pain in the mouth.
If you want to know more about your third molars, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions.
1. Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?
Adults normally get their wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 25. Not all adults get these third molars, however. There are some scientific reasons for this and genetics may play a part, but the fact is that not everyone gets them. For those who do, they can expect to have the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain
- Swollen gums
- Tenderness in the mouth
For those who don't have any symptoms, the only way to tell if wisdom teeth are present is by taking an X-ray. And for those who never get their wisdom teeth, they should consider themselves lucky.
2. What Are Some Problems Wisdom Teeth Cause?
It's not uncommon for those who have their wisdom teeth to have problems with them. For some who have smaller mouths, the wisdom teeth might cause overcrowding. Sometimes the wisdom teeth get impacted or infected, and a dental surgeon will recommend having them removed.
If the wisdom teeth do not come in properly, they can cause damage to the surrounding teeth or alignment problems. Some people even begin to have sinus issues. When a wisdom tooth is infected, it's called pericoronitis. In this instance, a dentist may recommend antibiotics, mouthwashes, or tooth extraction.
3. Is Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed a Painful Process?
Unfortunately, if you have your wisdom teeth and need to get them removed, it is a painful process. Extracting one or more wisdom teeth is considered oral surgery. As with other types of surgery, you will need to have a local anesthetic, and some people will even need to be fully sedated.
The procedure normally takes up to 90 minutes, and you will most likely experience discomfort for a few days following the procedure. A full recovery can take up to one week. To help control the pain, your oral surgeon will either prescribe pain medications or an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Contact a business like the Center For Oral & Facial Surgery of Memphis PLLC for more information.