Myths vs. Facts: Debunking Common Misconceptions About Wisdom Teeth & Their Removal

Misconceptions and myths often surround wisdom teeth and their removal. These misunderstandings can lead to confusion and anxiety for those requiring this treatment. This blog aims to separate fact from fiction by debunking some of the most prevalent myths about wisdom teeth removal.

Myth 1: Everyone Has Wisdom Teeth.

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone develops wisdom teeth. Some individuals may have fewer than four, and others may not have them at all. The presence or absence of wisdom teeth can vary from person to person.

Myth 2: You Know If You Have Wisdom Teeth.

Fact: Wisdom teeth can be present without causing noticeable symptoms. Regular dental check-ups, including X-rays, are essential for identifying the position, development, and potential problems associated with wisdom teeth.

Myth 3: Everyone Needs to Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed.

Fact: Wisdom teeth removal is not always necessary. The teeth may not require extraction if they are healthy, properly aligned, and fully functional. However, removal may be recommended if they are impacted, causing pain, crowding, or posing a risk of future complications.

Myth 4: Wisdom Teeth Have No Purpose.

Fact: Wisdom teeth were helpful for our ancestors, who had larger jaws and a diet that required more grinding. However, due to changes in human evolution, many individuals no longer have sufficient space in their jaws to accommodate these teeth properly. As a result, they often become impacted or cause issues, making their removal necessary.

Myth 5: Extracting Wisdom Teeth Is Dangerous.

Fact: Wisdom teeth extraction is a routine dental procedure considered safe when performed by a qualified dental professional. Dentists and oral surgeons are experienced in this type of surgery and take necessary precautions to ensure patient safety.

Myth 6: Pain-Free Impacted Wisdom Teeth Don’t Need Removing.

Fact: Even if impacted wisdom teeth are not causing immediate pain, they can still lead to problems in the future. Impacted teeth can increase the risk of infection, gum disease, tooth decay, and damage to adjacent teeth. It is often recommended to remove impacted wisdom teeth to prevent such complications.

Myth 7: Dry Sockets Occur with Every Wisdom Tooth Extraction.

Fact: Dry sockets, or alveolar osteitis, occur when the blood clot that forms after tooth extraction dislodges or dissolves prematurely. While dry sockets can be a potential complication, they do not happen with every wisdom tooth extraction. Following post-operative instructions and maintaining good oral hygiene can help minimise the risk.

Myth 8: Wisdom Teeth Removal Is Necessary Before Orthodontic Work.

Fact: Wisdom teeth removal is not always a prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. It depends on the specific case, including crowding, alignment issues, and the dentist’s recommendation. Removing wisdom teeth may benefit the orthodontic process in some cases, but it is not a standard requirement.

Myth 9: Wisdom Teeth Have a Low Pathology Incidence Rate.

Fact: Wisdom teeth can be susceptible to various pathologies, including infection, cysts, tumours, and damage to adjacent teeth. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays help identify any potential pathology associated with wisdom teeth and determine the need for extraction.

Myth 10: Early Wisdom Tooth Removal Isn’t Always Better.

Fact: Early removal of wisdom teeth can prevent potential complications and reduce the risk of future problems. It is often easier to remove wisdom teeth in younger individuals when the roots are not fully formed, and the surrounding bone is less dense. However, the timing of removal should be based on individual factors and professional recommendations.

Myth 11: The Removal of Wisdom Teeth Doesn’t Impact Your Remaining Teeth.

Fact: Wisdom teeth can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, leading to crowding, shifting, and misalignment. Removing wisdom teeth can help prevent such issues and preserve the alignment of your remaining teeth.

Myth 12: You Can’t Eat Anything the First Two Days After Extraction.

Fact: While it is important to follow post-operative instructions, it is still possible to eat certain soft foods after wisdom teeth removal. Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide dietary guidelines that allow you to maintain proper nutrition while avoiding foods that may hinder healing.

Myth 13: You Can’t Brush Your Teeth After Wisdom Tooth Extraction for a Week.

Fact: Brushing your teeth is crucial for maintaining oral hygiene, even after wisdom tooth extraction. However, it is essential to follow specific instructions from your dentist regarding the proper technique and when to start brushing in the healing process.

Myth 14: Drinking and Smoking Cause No Harm After Extractions.

Fact: Smoking and drinking alcohol can delay healing and increase the risk of complications after wisdom tooth extraction. As instructed by your dental professional, avoiding smoking and drinking for a certain period is advisable to promote optimal healing.

Myth 15: Wisdom Teeth Removal Is Expensive.

Fact: The cost of wisdom teeth removal can vary depending on several factors, but it is not always expensive. The cost of wisdom teeth removal can depend on factors such as the complexity of the extraction, the number of teeth being removed, the need for sedation or anaesthesia, the location of the dental practice, and the individual dentist’s fees. It is important to note that the cost may also vary based on regional differences and personal insurance coverage.

In conclusion, debunking common misconceptions about wisdom teeth and their removal is crucial for understanding the facts and making informed decisions about oral health. Learning about these myths can alleviate anxiety and confusion surrounding wisdom tooth extraction. Consulting with a dental professional is essential for personalised advice and recommendations based on your situation.

If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with the dentists at Studio Smiles. Our experts will evaluate your oral health, discuss the benefits of wisdom tooth removal, and provide guidance tailored to your needs. Call us at 1300 025 113 to schedule an appointment with our professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Main Problem with Wisdom Teeth?

The main problem with wisdom teeth is that they often do not have enough space to emerge thoroughly or erupt appropriately in the mouth. As a result, they can become impacted, meaning they cannot fully break through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a range of issues, including:

  • Pain and Discomfort: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort in the back of the mouth. This pain may be intermittent or constant, and it can radiate to the jaw, ear, or head.
  • Infection and Gum Disease: When wisdom teeth partially erupt, they create a small opening in the gums, allowing bacteria to enter and cause infection. This can lead to gum inflammation (pericoronitis) and increase the risk of gum disease (periodontal disease) in the surrounding teeth.
  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Wisdom teeth may push against the neighbouring teeth as they try to emerge. This pressure can lead to tooth crowding, misalignment, and damage to the adjacent teeth, potentially requiring orthodontic treatment to correct.
  • Formation of Cysts and Tumours: In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumours around the impacted tooth. These growths can cause damage to the jawbone and nearby structures if left untreated.
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, making them difficult to clean properly. The positioning and limited accessibility can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities in the wisdom and adjacent teeth.
Do Wisdom Teeth Always Cause Pain?

No, wisdom teeth may not always cause pain. Some individuals may have fully erupted and properly aligned wisdom teeth without discomfort. However, it is essential to monitor the

development of wisdom teeth through regular dental check-ups and X-rays, as problems can arise without noticeable symptoms.

Is Wisdom Tooth Removal a Risky Procedure?

Wisdom tooth removal is generally considered a safe procedure when performed by qualified dental professionals. Dentists and oral surgeons are trained to handle wisdom tooth extractions and take necessary precautions to minimise risks and ensure patient comfort. However, as with any surgical procedure, potential risks include infection, bleeding, dry socket, nerve damage, and damage to surrounding structures.

The specific risks can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the extraction and the individual’s overall oral health. It is essential to discuss any concerns or pre-existing conditions with your dental professional to assess the risks and benefits specific to your case. Following post-operative instructions and seeking proper care can effectively manage the risks associated with wisdom tooth removal.

What Is the Number 1 Wisdom Tooth?

The number 1 wisdom tooth refers to the upper right third molar, the first wisdom tooth in the upper jaw on the right side. In dental terminology, each tooth is identified by a specific number or letter based on its position and classification. The numbering system commonly used in dentistry is the Universal Numbering System, where the upper right third molar is designated tooth number 1. Similarly, the upper left third molar is referred to as tooth number 16.

Is All 4 Wisdom Teeth Rare?

No, it is not rare for individuals to have all four wisdom teeth. The presence or absence of wisdom teeth can vary from person to person. Some individuals may have all four wisdom teeth, while others may have fewer or none. Various factors, including genetics and jaw size, influence wisdom teeth’ development and eruption.

While some people may have enough space in their jaws to accommodate the eruption of all four wisdom teeth without any issues, others may experience problems due to limited space or improper alignment. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help determine the number of wisdom teeth present and assess the need for removal based on individual circumstances.

What Is a Fun Fact About Wisdom Teeth?

Did you know that the term “wisdom teeth” originates from the idea that these teeth typically emerge during the late teens or early twenties when a person is believed to have gained some wisdom? In Latin, they are called “dens sapientiae,” which directly translates to “teeth of wisdom.”

Can I Retain My Wisdom Teeth If They Aren't Causing Issues Now?

Whether or not to retain your wisdom teeth if they aren’t causing any issues is a decision that should be made in consultation with your dental professional. In some cases, if the wisdom teeth are healthy, properly aligned, and not causing any problems or potential complications they can be safely retained. However, it’s important to note that even wisdom teeth that are currently asymptomatic can still develop issues in the future.

Because they are located at the back of the mouth, they can be challenging to clean correctly, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems over time. Additionally, wisdom teeth can cause problems as you age, such as crowding or misalignment of neighbouring teeth, which may require orthodontic treatment to correct. Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to cysts, infections, or damage to nearby structures if left untreated.

Do You Get All Four Wisdom Teeth at The Same Time?

No, it is not necessary for all four wisdom teeth to erupt or develop simultaneously. The eruption of wisdom teeth can vary from person to person and is not synchronised. Some individuals may have all four wisdom teeth erupting simultaneously, while others may have them erupt at different times or not at all.

Wisdom teeth typically develop in the late teens or early twenties, but the timing can vary. Some people may experience the eruption of their wisdom teeth in their late teens, while others may not see them emerge until their twenties or later. It’s important to note that not everyone will develop all four wisdom teeth. Some individuals may have fewer wisdom teeth due to genetic factors, jaw size, and development variations.