43 - 44 Bedford Place, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 2DG
image image image image

Are wisdom teeth just a bit too pushy?

posted 15/02/2016

Wisdom teeth are a bit of a throwback – they may have helped our ancient ancestors get to grips with tough vegetation at a time when ceramic hobs were a little thin on the ground, but us modern humans no longer have to chew for hours on tricky plant matter to get all our essential nutrients.

These age old teeth are, however, still firmly on the scene, usually popping up in young adulthood between 17-25 years and when they do show up they often prove to be unwelcome visitors as our contemporary jaws are generally too small to accommodate any extra teeth. So are wisdom teeth just big bullies, making our existing teeth go all wonky as they force their way into the world?

The answer is no. Even though it is commonly thought that the arrival of these teeth will push other teeth out of line, research has shown that these (old fashioned) new kids on the dental block don’t exert enough pressure to make our other teeth misbehave.

However, they can get a little stuck as they struggle to get out and can become impacted. This means they are wedged at an awkward angle, either fully impacted under the gum or partially impacted so a bit of tooth peeks through.

Impacted wisdom teeth can remain in their odd position without a care in the world and probably won’t need removing, but in some cases bothersome bacteria can collect around the tooth and start causing all kinds of pesky problems such as decay, soreness and infection. If this happens you may have to start giving your wisdom teeth a little TLC and get busy with your trusty toothbrush and mouthwash. If the problems still don’t improve then the best course of action may be to have the offending tooth/teeth whipped out. This is a very common procedure, though nowadays it is only undertaken if wisdom teeth are particularly troublesome.

If wisdom teeth aren’t to blame, why do our other teeth step out of line as we get older? Crooked smiles are probably down to jaw growth which continues throughout your life and as the lower jaw tends to grow more than the upper this is probably why most crowding occurs in the lower set of teeth. Also it may be the way your ‘bite’ alters as teeth begin to wear and if teeth are going awry after orthodontic straightening, it could be that a retainer has not been worn properly to keep them nicely in line.

So it seems wisdom teeth are not the overly pushy types we thought they were and removing them to keep teeth straighter is unnecessary. Like passing your driving test, getting a mortgage or just having to start taking responsibility, crooked teeth are simply just another part of growing up…

If your misaligned teeth are giving you grief – don’t blame those wise guys, just give us a call on 02380 220 008.