Nipomo Dentist, Dr. Douglas Ng Demystifies the Role of Wisdom Teeth
-Wisdom teeth, those teeth at the very back of the gums, got their nickname because they begin to appear in early adulthood, a time when humans are entering maturity. “Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17-21,” said Dr. Douglas Ng of Nipomo Family Dentistry, “and that’s about the time we all become aware of them because they can be troublesome.”
“We can have as many as four, two upper and two lower, wisdom teeth,” said Ng, “or as few as one, or none.” The wisdom teeth can grow in trouble free or cause painful swollen jaws and sometimes need to be extracted.
“One of the most common questions I hear from patients about their wisdom teeth is: If they have to come out, why do we even have them?” says Ng. One of the theories among anthropologists who study the teeth of ancient humankind is that hunter/gatherer diets required more chewing surface, or more teeth, than we need today. The modern diet doesn’t stimulate jaw growth and as a result, there is less room for wisdom teeth.
“Even though problems with wisdom teeth are quite common,” said the Nipomo dentist, “not everyone needs to have them extracted. Some pain might happen when healthy teeth start growing.”
To be safe, it’s important to have a dental exam at the first sign of pain or swelling. Pain and swelling is common when teeth begin to erupt through the gums, especially for molars. But, because the same symptoms are associated with problems with the wisdom teeth, extra attention, including an exam, is very important.
The Nipomo dentist, Dr. Ng said that as wisdom teeth begin to come it, it’s important to monitor them because:
- Cysts can form from an impacted wisdom tooth and damage bone and nearby teeth.
- Crowding because there is not enough room to grow can damage other teeth.
- If wisdom teeth aren’t in the right position are difficult to floss, leading to cavities and gum disease.
- There is a possibility of infection.
Even though some people’s wisdom teeth may be reflecting evolutionary changes in the human jaw, they are still teeth and have a great deal of influence on the health of jaw bone, neighboring teeth and the entire mouth. Problems with wisdom teeth can mean that good dental care is even more important.
Nipomo Family Dentistry provides a full range of services from routine cleanings, teeth whitening, crowns, and all dental needs. Dr. Ng and the staff take the time to sit down with each individual patient and address their personal needs. After each and every visit, patients leave the office with a healthier mouth and a brighter smile.
Nipomo Family Dentistry
195 N Thompson Ave Suite #3
Nipomo, CA 93444