Dental Tips: What Are Third Molars?
If you have an extra tooth that is growing after your final molars in the back of your mouth, it is called a third molar, or a wisdom tooth. This may erupt partially or completely, or it may become impacted. Some people leave their wisdom teeth and don't pull them, but most dentists recommend having them extracted. Here is more information about third molars and what you can do about them.
What are the risks of having third molars?
While some people can have third molars and have no problems with them, it is rare. Most people tend to need them removed at some point in their life. These teeth are at the very back of your mouth, which makes them difficult to clean properly. Having excessive decay and infections of the wisdom teeth is not uncommon. They might also grow in pointing toward your other teeth, which can cause shifting of the teeth, as well as problems with your jaw or nerves if they are angled oddly. It can also cause problems if the third molars are impacted when they grow in, where they only come through the gums partially. This also causes dental issues since you can't clean the entire tooth if it is impacted.
Does everyone get third molars?
Third molars are not something everyone will experience in their lifetime. Some people may never have these teeth erupt through their gums, while others will have all four come through completely. You can have just one or two wisdom teeth come through, or all four, one for each quadrant of your mouth. You may also notice that you feel something bumpy underneath your gums in the back of your mouth, but the tooth never actually erupts. If this starts to bother you, let your dentist know as it might still need to be extracted.
When do you need to have them extracted?
If your third molars ever need any type of dental treatment, the dentist will likely recommend pulling them instead. There is no point in having an expensive root canal procedure on the wisdom tooth, as it is better to remove the tooth entirely. You may get a filling if it has erupted fully and is not angled improperly or causing any other issues, but for the most part, it is best to just get them extracted. If the tooth is impacted, there is an infection, or you keep getting decay due to how difficult it is to clean, you should consider having the teeth removed. If you get jaw and head pain after they come in, it might be from overcrowding in your mouth, which is another good reason to opt for an extraction.
Speak to a dental professional for more about this topic.