Wisdom teeth are the third set of permanent molars that erupt typically between the ages of 17 and 22. We tend to get questions about wisdom teeth from teens and parents as school lets out for summer. Are my wisdom teeth coming in? Will she need her wisdom teeth extracted? Will I feel it when my wisdom teeth come in? Know what to expect as wisdom teeth erupt, and know the warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth.
Early man had larger jaws to accommodate these teeth. Through the process of evolution, our jaws have become smaller leaving little room for these molars. The cooking and processing of foods have lessened the necessity of the third molars. Some individuals fail to develop one or all four wisdom teeth.
Sometimes one will have no idea that a wisdom tooth is coming in. Other times one might detect pressure, discomfort, or tenderness in the gums as a tooth pokes through. It’s no wonder why babies cry when they teethe.
An impacted tooth occurs when it is partially or fully covered by soft tissue or bone. It may fail to erupt fully because it is facing the wrong way, it is trapped by another tooth, or there is no room. It is best to know the warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth. Unerupted teeth can cause problems such as infection, abscess, cyst formation and damage to or loss of the adjacent teeth. Watch for the following signs. If any of these occur, call us for an appointment.
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Jaw pain
- Swelling around the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth
Naturally we prefer to address the wisdom teeth before they cause a problem. The doctors at La Grange Dental Associates recommend having your teen’s wisdom teeth evaluated between the ages of 16 and 19. A simple panoramic x-ray is all that is needed. Hopefully you will have room for your wisdom teeth to erupt. If the dentist determines that you do not have room or that they will be problematic for you, he may recommend they be removed. Don’t fret, wisdom teeth are just another right of passage into adulthood. Take advantage of summer break by scheduling an appointment to have your teen’s wisdom teeth evaluated.