You are not alone if you have ever wondered why those enigmatic, late-blooming adult teeth dubbed “wisdom teeth” cause so much grief. Many people have firsthand experience with the irritation and pain wisdom teeth can cause. It can be challenging to understand where you are in the process or if there are underlying issues you must address.
In case you are confused, the frequently asked questions and facts about wisdom teeth below should help clear things up. When in doubt, consult the professionals at Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Known formally as “third molars,” these teeth are found at the mouth’s extreme rear on the upper and lower dental arches. Due to their inconvenient location, they are prone to infections and other oral health problems.
Most adults have wisdom teeth. Typically, they are either impacted (still growing under the gums because there is not enough room) or fully erupted (partially or fully visible above the gum line).
When Do Wisdom Teeth Erupt?
In most people, wisdom teeth emerge between the ages of 16 and 25. However, that is a generalization; they can erupt anytime. For example, a 94-year-old man had the bizarre experience of a wisdom tooth erupting in 2017. The Guinness Book of World Records notes that he is the oldest person to develop a third molar.
What is the Rationale Behind Removing Your Third Molars?
Removal of a third molar is often recommended to resolve or avoid complications with a wisdom tooth. When your wisdom teeth finally make their appearance, you may experience any of the following issues:
- A flap of gum tissue may form over your wisdom teeth if they only emerge partially. Food and bacteria can easily get trapped beneath the flap, causing inflammation and pain.
- Teeth that are too large for your jaw may be unable to erupt through your gums. Impaction is the term for this problem. Impacted teeth can cause significant complications such as infection, cysts and damage to adjacent teeth and bone.
- Your wisdom teeth may erupt at an unnatural angle, with the crown pointing toward the back, side or front.
Do not disregard the warning signs of wisdom tooth problems. You should visit a dentist immediately If you notice fluid-filled cysts, gum disease (bleeding, swollen or receding gums), tooth decay (cavities), jaw pain or issues with your bite due to crowding or movement of existing teeth.
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates has extensive knowledge and experience with wisdom tooth removal. Contact our office to schedule an appointment if you need yours removed.