The name “wisdom teeth” has nothing to do with gaining wisdom. “Most likely they got the name because the start erupting through our gums in the late teens and early 20s,” said Dr. Douglas Ng of Nipomo Family Dentistry, “and that’s about the time they start announcing their presence with pain and swollen gums.”
“We normally two upper and two lower, wisdom teeth,” said Ng, “but some people never have any.” Wisdom teeth don’t always cause problems either, some grow in with minor pain and swelling. It’s when they start causing problems that they need to be extracted.
“A common question from patients,” says Ng, “is if I don’t need them, why do I have them?” It is believed that at one time the human diet required much more chewing that we do today. More chewing required more teeth and stimulated more jaw growth. Our modern diet doesn’t require as much chewing and over centuries there has been less room for the wisdom teeth.
“Wisdom teeth, like any other tooth, can cause swelling and pain when as they push against the gum to erupt,” said Nipomo dentist, “but this doesn’t mean the teeth need to be extracted.” The trouble comes when one or more of the following conditions happen:
- An impacted wisdom tooth can form a cyst that damages bone and other teeth.
- A wisdom tooth crowds and damages other teeth Crowding because there is not enough room to grow.
- They can be difficult to floss, leading to oral health problems.
- An infection.
The best way to avoid problems is to have an examination whenever there is pain or swelling. Even though some pain is natural when teeth grow in, it’s better to be safe and the extra attention from an examination can help prevent future problems.
The Nipomo dentist cautions that just because the wisdom teeth grow in and are aligned properly is no reason to ignore them. Just like the rest of the teeth, their health can influence the overall health of the mouth, gums, jaw bone, and more.
Nipomo Family Dentistry offers a full range of services that include everything from examinations, cleaning, whitening, crowns and all dental needs. Dr. Ng and his staff are dedicated to making sure every patient’s personal needs are addressed and everyone leaves with a brighter smile.
Nipomo Family Dentistry
195 N Thompson Ave Suite #3
Nipomo, CA 93444