Wisdom teeth can cause a lot of potential problems. Here is everything you need to know about wisdom teeth.


  1. Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?Wisdom teeth were originally called “teeth of wisdom” in the 1600s but this was later changed to “wisdom teeth” in 1848. They were given this name because they typically don’t grow until people are between the ages 17 and 24, so they are associated with entering adulthood and therefore developing more wisdom. Interesting fact: Wisdom teeth are the only teeth that don’t develop until after birth.
  2. What is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?Our ancestors initially needed the extra set of wisdom teeth in order to chew their diet of tough meat, tree bark, nuts and roots. However, cooking eventually made it much easier to chew food, thus eliminating the need for wisdom teeth. In addition, our brain size has increased in size from that of our ancestors, which means that our jaws do not have additional room for any extra teeth.
  3. Is Having Wisdom Teeth Removed Painful? How long is the Recovery?Having wisdom teeth will not be painful given that, depending upon the extent of your impacted teeth, your dentist will either administer local or general anesthesia. Discomfort and swelling will typically last two to three days. Recovery time will vary, but can last anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Most people return to their normal activities after the first day.
  4. Is Removing Your Wisdom Teeth Risky?Wisdom teeth removal is a very safe and routine procedure for all dentists. While complications can occur as with any surgery, they are generally mild, including nerve damage (which is generally temporary and not permanent) or dry socket, which can be more painful. It involves the blood clot becoming dislodged, leaving nerves exposed.
  5. How Should I Take Care of Myself After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed?Avoid consuming solid foods, alcohol, coffee, pop or hot beverages in the first couple of days after your surgery. Eat soft foods, until you are ready to move on to more solid food. Do not brush or floss your teeth during the first 24 hours. You can also take the painkiller prescribed by your dentist and use a cold pack over your jaw to help with swelling and discomfort. Frequently rinse your mouth with salt water to help prevent getting an infection.

If you have any additional questions regarding wisdom teeth or are looking to have them removed, contact Sierra Dental today.