While different people have varying stories about how and when their wisdom teeth erupted, others have very little to say because their wisdom teeth did not get to erupt, but whatever side of the divide you are on, there is nothing to worry about. Here are a few facts concerning wisdom teeth that might interest you.
What are wisdom teeth?
Also known as third molars. they are the last set of teeth that erupts in the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth at the back of their mouth, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. Unlike the front teeth, which tend to be sharp, third molars are flat with a large surface area.
Why are they called wisdom teeth?
There is no scientific reason why the third molars are known as wisdom teeth, but presumably, since they come in much later than the other teeth, mainly during the late teens or early adulthood, one is thought to be wiser by then.
When do wisdom teeth start coming in
For most people, third molars start erupting between the ages of 17 and 21 years. However, it is worth mentioning that all the teeth that one ever gets are usually present in the skull structure at birth. Therefore, just because your third molars are not visible does not mean you don’t have them.
Signs your wisdom teeth are about to come in
For some people, wisdom teeth come with just slight discomforts, while for others it’s a harrowing experience, especially if their teeth are impacted. Some telltale signs that your third molars might be on the way include:
- Reddening or swelling of the gum at the back of your mouth
- Tender gums
- Pain or discomfort in the jaws
- Difficulty chewing or opening the mouth
- A sudden movement of adjacent teeth
My wisdom teeth have not erupted. What gives?
The reasons why wisdom teeth fail to erupt vary from one person to another but mostly it’s due to inadequate space in the mouth, which causes the teeth to get stuck in the jaws. There is also a genetic angle to it. Researchers posit that with continued evolution, the human brain size has been expanding gradually, leading to diminishing space for the third molars to form correctly. Sounds farfetched and debatable but cannot be ignored, given the number of people whose third molars have failed to erupt is gradually increasing.
When third molars do not erupt, they are said to be impacted. your third molars can either be fully or partially impacted. Fully impacted means the teeth are entirely submerged beneath the gum tissue, while partially impacted means the teeth have broken the gum but are stuck.
What to do if you experience impacted third molars
The first action that you must take urgently when you suspect your third molars are impacted is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Professional dentists at 3v Dental Associates will conduct a visual examination of the affected tooth or teeth and take x rays to diagnose your condition correctly. If the teeth are upright, extraction may not be necessary. However, your 3v Dental Associates dentist will recommend extraction if the third molars are likely to cause infection or other oral complication.
Complications associated with wisdom teeth
Most common third molar problems occur due to their inability to fit in the mouth. In the process of the teeth creating space for themselves, patients may end up with the following conditions, which are treatable by 3v Dental Associates.
- Crowded teeth or crooked teeth due to little space in the mouth to accommodate all the 32 teeth
- Distorted growth where the tooth starts growing sideways at an angle or horizontally
- Tooth decay primarily due to the location of the third molars, which makes it difficult to brush and floss properly, resulting in poor oral hygiene.
- Cysts under the gum can form when the sac in which the third molar should develop is filled with fluid.
- Damage to other teeth, particularly when the third molars exert pressure on the second molars
- Gum disease. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can trigger pericoronitis (a painful inflammatory gum condition)
Treatment for impacted teeth
The most common treatment for impacted third molars is extraction. If your teeth are partially impacted, the procedure is simple and can be done at your dentist’s office. However, for fully impacted teeth, it is advisable to have the procedure done in a hospital by a dental surgeon because the surgeon might require breaking up the tooth into smaller fragments to avoid damaging the surrounding gum tissue and teeth.
Whatever your situation, at 3v Dental Associates, we are here for you. We shall walk you through the journey of your wisdom teeth by offering you state of the art dental services. Please book an appointment with us.