Wisdom Teeth: Are They Necessary?

wisdom tooth pain


Wisdom teeth are the last row of molars that develop behind the molars on the top and bottom jaws. They are the last adult teeth to come through, normally between the ages of 17 and 25.

Historically, they have been referred to as wisdom teeth in reference to the fact that they come through during more mature ages.

When wisdom teeth correctly come through, they can help you chew better. It’s normal to feel a little discomfort or pain when the wisdom teeth first appear, but this only lasts a few days. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, and not all wisdom teeth cause problems.

While there are people who never experience issues with their wisdom teeth, some may develop common problems such as impacted wisdom teeth, overcrowding, and decayed or infected wisdom tooth, which can cause pain, difficulty chewing bad breath, and may necessitate extraction.

What is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?

Dental professionals such as wisdomteethclinicdublin.ie will often recommend wisdom tooth extraction as they are not really that necessary.

An infected wisdom tooth can end up causing a great deal of pain and trouble to the person, which might not be worth it. The lower wisdom teeth may also be prevented from proper growth when they are impeded by the adjacent teeth, causing impacted wisdom teeth.

Anthropologists actually believe that wisdom teeth are an evolutionary relic that was once helpful to distant human ancestors. This is because much of the human early diet consisted mainly of rougher foods like nuts, meats, and roots that required a lot more chewing than modern foods.

The consensus is that our ancestors’ teeth tended to wear down and fall out more often, and wisdom teeth used to grow as their replacement.

Why Keeping Wisdom Teeth Requires Diligent Effort

It’s not possible to floss and brush your wisdom teeth the same way you do the rest of your teeth. Due to the position and location of these teeth in the gum tissues, they are susceptible to:

  1. Gum disease
  2. Impacted food
  3. Cavities
  4. Bone loss
  5. Partially erupted or impacted teeth
  6. Abscesses

Even with thorough brushing and flossing, wisdom teeth can be difficult to reach and it can make them vulnerable to conditions like cavities, gum disease, teeth abscess, and more.

To maintain healthy wisdom teeth and keep the tissues around them healthy, traditional flossing and brushing might not be enough.

This is mainly because food particles and bacteria frequently make their way beneath the gum tissues, where it’s hard to reach with brushing and flossing.

How to Clean Your Wisdom Teeth

While cleaning around your third molars requires more dental hygiene tools than most people use on a daily basis.

Brushing along the gumline is important for stimulating the issues and removing any food particles that may collect at the gumline.

You can also prevent the formation of plaque by flossing below the gum lines on both sides of the tooth. However, if there are gum pockets, or the tooth is barely half erupted, the cleaning will be a bit restricted.

Using an antibacterial mouth rinse immediately after brushing can help to target bacteria in areas that flossing may not reach well.

Visiting your dentist regularly will also help make sure potential problems are caught early, and is recommended for overall dental health.

Common Problems With Wisdom Teeth

Some wisdom teeth may erupt through the gum, without causing major issues. However, in some cases, the teeth come through at an angle, pushing into the teeth beside them or into the gum. This is referred to as an impaction. Impaction can be painful and may cause an infection.

Crowded wisdom is another problem that may occur. It occurs when wisdom teeth lean sideways and rub against the cheek. This could cause chewing problems and ulcers on the cheek.

While your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs like:

  • Wisdom teeth that are misaligned or in a position that could allow food to become trapped.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t come in properly, which might make it difficult to brush and floss between the wisdom teeth and adjacent teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that partially come through, giving bacteria a suitable place to enter the gums and cause an infection.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have ample room to come through, that risk crowding or damaging the adjacent teeth.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth that might form a cyst near or on the affected tooth. This could lead to damage to the roots of the adjacent teeth or damage to the bone that supports your teeth.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Should Be Removed

Your dentist may recommend having your wisdom teeth removed if:

  • Your mouth doesn’t have enough room for wisdom teeth to properly come through
  • You are experiencing pain, infection, cysts, or damage to the other teeth
  • Your dentist may also recommend removing wisdom teeth as part of treatment for braces or other forms of dental care.

But before a decision is made, the dentist will examine your teeth and mouth and take an x-ray. From there, you and your dentist can discuss your options and the best course of action.


Wisdom teeth can often cause problems such as impaction, overcrowding, decay, and infections. Due to their location and position in the mouth, cleaning wisdom teeth can be challenging, making them more susceptible to oral health issues.

Regular dental visits, proper brushing along the gumline, flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash can help maintain healthy wisdom teeth. However, in many cases, wisdom teeth need to be removed to prevent pain, infection, and damage to other teeth.

Ultimately, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your wisdom teeth and recommend extraction if necessary. It’s important to consult with your dentist and follow their advice to ensure optimal oral health.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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