There are several milestone events that happen when you become a legal adult:
- You can vote
- You’ll be able to drink
- You can open accounts in your own name
And for many of us, that’s also roughly when our wisdom teeth start erupting – a major milestone in itself!
As with many things dental, there’s a huge range of myths and misconceptions surrounding your wisdom teeth. Many of them sound downright terrifying, and result in fear and trembling once you realise your annual dental checkup is near.
Many of these myths and misconceptions come from a different time, which the dental profession has moved on from.
Today, our Armadale dentist busts the most common myths, and shares the wise truth about your wisdom teeth!
Myths about wisdom teeth from your Armadale dentist
The wisdom teeth are often the last set of molars that most of us get in our late teens and twenties.
And when that happens, certain myths and misconceptions immediately start springing to mind.
Many of these myths and misconceptions may have been the norm in decades past – nowadays however, advances in dental science and a better understanding of the mouth means that a lot of these old adages no longer hold true.
Of course, that doesn’t stop people from believing them!
This even drives some to avoid getting treatment for the pain and discomfort felt when their wisdom teeth erupt.
Needless to say, that’s an outcome we’re determined to avoid – that’s why today, we’ll be bust some of the most prevalent wisdom tooth myths and revealing the truth.
Myth #1: Everyone has a complete set of wisdom teeth
Getting your wisdom teeth is seen as a rite of passage. However, it’s not one that everybody will go through!
Some people don’t get the full set of wisdom teeth, simple as that – instead of 4 extra teeth, they’ll only have three, two, or one. Some people never get their wisdom teeth at all!
This can be chalked down to a mutation in our DNA which prevents the formulation of wisdom teeth altogether.
This mutation spread and was carried down throughout the generations, which is why some people never get their wisdom teeth.
Certain ethnic groups in particular have a higher chance of not getting all their wisdom teeth.
For example, people of Inuit descent only have a 55% chance of all their wisdom teeth erupting, presumably because their distant ancestors carried the gene mutation.
So if you happen to have an incomplete or missing set of wisdom teeth, don’t worry – everything is absolutely fine!
Myth #2: Wisdom teeth should be removed immediately
This is the big one right here.
When most people hear “wisdom teeth”, their first thought is wisdom tooth removal. When you Google it, that’s the first suggested result.
Many believe that the moment their wisdom teeth start erupting, they need to have them removed immediately.
This is because in many cases, wisdom tooth eruption can lead to dental problems. For example, wisdom teeth can cause crowding, and can impact other teeth, causing pain and opening you up to infection.
But what if you’re lucky and your wisdom teeth erupt without causing you any problems?
That’s just the thing: nowadays, your Armadale dentist won’t recommend removing wisdom teeth unless it causes problems.
If your wisdom tooth erupts safely without impact or misaligning the rest of your teeth, there’s absolutely no harm in just leaving them there.
Myth #3: Dentists can predict when wisdom teeth will erupt
There’s no way to predict where or when your wisdom teeth will erupt. While for most of us that happens around the late teens or early twenties, that’s an awfully large range.
Your dentist can view your wisdom teeth via X-ray as they start forming, and make a prediction as to where they’re going to erupt.
However, we aren’t psychic – we won’t be able to predict when they’ll start forming.
Of course, just because your Armadale dentist can’t see into the future, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t see them when your wisdom teeth start erupting!
A dental professional can help you deal with wisdom teeth as they erupt, and can help determine whether or not your wisdom teeth are going to present a problem.
If need be, they’ll also treat subsequent infections and remove them if needed.
Myth #4: Wisdom teeth removal is very painful
We get it; getting a tooth removed is a scary prospect. It’s your tooth, after all!
In particular, many are worried that the procedure will hurt. When they think of tooth removal, their minds go towards high-pitched dental drills and tweezers – no wonder so many people are afraid of the dentist!
Luckily, you don’t need to worry. Wisdom teeth removal can be a painless process using the latest technology.
For example, in addition to effective local anaesthetics, our Armadale dentist uses nitrous oxide – better known as laughing gas.
This gas helps patients relax, and can further reduce sensations of pain.
Myth #5: wisdom teeth serve no purpose
We haven’t always had such great dental care. For most of human history, dentistry didn’t exist as a profession, and oral health was poorly understood.
Combine that with the fact that diets used to be much rougher, and it’s no surprise that our ancestors often wound up losing teeth at a much greater rate than nowadays.
Wisdom teeth serve as a buffer against this happening. Think of it as your body’s “spare” teeth, popping up to replace any teeth that may have been lost during adolescence.
Of course, with modern dentistry, this is no longer a problem.
So when these teeth erupt, what they end up doing in many cases is crowding your mouth and impacting on existing teeth, causing pain!
So while wisdom teeth may not serve much of a purpose nowadays, that doesn’t mean they’re completely pointless!
How can you deal with your wisdom teeth?
It depends – specifically, it depends on whether or not your wisdom teeth hurt or not.
As we mentioned above, a wisdom tooth that has plenty of space to erupt without affecting the rest of your teeth is no trouble at all.
In these cases, it’s perfectly safe to leave them in (just remember to give them a good brushing!)
If it impacts other teeth however, then yes, your wisdom teeth will need to come out.
Another negative consequence is infection.
Specifically, partial eruptions can result in gum flaps, which are prone to bacteria. Wisdom tooth removal isn’t always needed in these cases – however, a visit to an emergency dentist certainly is!
Both of these cases can cause pain, and are fully-fledged dental emergencies.
So, what can you do when this happens?
Call an emergency dentist in Armadale, that’s what!
So you’ve noticed your first wisdom teeth erupting. If you ask us, you should take this as a sign to see your dentist, even if they’re not actually causing you any pain.
During your dental visit, your dentist will look at the wisdom teeth and determine whether or not they’re going to cause problems.
And if they do, we’ll help you by determining what actions need to be taken to minimise pain.
If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, that trip you your Armadale dentist turns from a strong recommendation to absolutely mandatory!
Contact Dental Care Group on (03) 9509 1500 for immediate wisdom tooth advice.
Call us before midday during our opening hours, and we’ll make sure see you before the end of the business day.
Want to book online? Click here to schedule your appointment today.