Most of our permanent teeth erupt during childhood, but the 3rd molars (or “wisdom teeth”) show up much later, usually during adulthood. In fact, the term “wisdom teeth” originated in the 19th century because these molars don’t erupt until people are old enough to have gained some wisdom.
If your wisdom teeth appear healthy and are in proper alignment, there is no need to remove them. Your dentist will just monitor them throughout your lifetime. But if they’re causing you trouble, they may need to be removed. Symptoms of an unhealthy wisdom tooth include:
- Inability to open mouth and/or pain with chewing
- Sensitivity to sweets, hot and/or cold temperatures
- Bleeding and/or swollen, painful gums
- The sensation of crowding or pressure
If you are having any of these symptoms, come in to see one of our dentists at the Wilce Student Health Services Dental Clinic. We will perform an exam and take a panoramic x-ray of your teeth to see what is going on. The x-ray can tell us if your wisdom tooth is crowding the 2nd molar and causing a cavity, or if there are any cysts or tumors involving the wisdom tooth.
Any of the above signs or symptoms would lead us to recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed. We don’t remove wisdom teeth at the Student Health Center; if necessary, we will refer you to the oral surgery clinic at the Ohio State College of Dentistry.
If you want to learn more about wisdom teeth, the American Dental Association has a great (and short) video that you can check out here.
Julia O’Neil-Johnson, DDS
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University