What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Our teeth develop in stages: the first set is incisors that come in at age seven, followed by canines, premolars, molars, and then wisdom teeth. The latter is a mystery because not everyone develops wisdom teeth. Unlike normal teeth that begin to form before birth, wisdom teeth formation begins at age seven. Sometimes wisdom teeth are pain-free, but in some people, they may cause throbbing pain, discomfort or infection.
When Do They Erupt?
Wisdom teeth, often referred to as the third molars, begin to emerge in your late teens or early twenties—around age 21. We develop four wisdom teeth, two on the upper and lower jaw.
The wisdom teeth emerge differently in every person. In some people, the teeth come out vertically, while in others horizontally. Other times, the teeth may partially emerge out of the gums and others remain buried underneath. Regardless of how the teeth emerge, one thing is clear, the wisdom teeth may need to be extracted.
Moreover, wisdom teeth are not as important as they were back then. Today, your mouth can function optimally with the 28 teeth.
Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?
No, not everyone develops wisdom teeth. Although it’s difficult to say how many people have missing wisdom teeth, it is estimated that about 5 to 37 percent of the people have congenitally absent teeth, meaning the teeth don’t form at all. The reason why some people don’t have wisdom teeth is not known, though researchers say environment, genes, diet, and chewing function play a role.
Not having wisdom teeth is not a dental problem, you can function well without them. Furthermore, missing wisdom teeth will save you from wisdom teeth extraction.
How Can You Tell If You Have Wisdom Teeth?
When you come to Albert Street Dentistry, request our dentist to check for the positioning of the wisdom teeth. The dentist may take x-ray imaging of your jaw to determine the alignment and presence of wisdom teeth.
Are All Wisdom Teeth Impacted?
Let’s be clear, having impacted teeth is not the same as missing wisdom teeth. Impacted teeth are wisdom teeth that get entrapped underneath the gum and fail to fully emerge because of lack of space.
No, not all teeth are impacted. Some people may develop wisdom teeth fully, but the teeth may cause problems later in life, therefore, they need constant monitoring.
Impacted teeth may or may not cause pain depending on their positioning. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include red and swollen gums, jaw pain, tender and bleeding gums, bad breath, and unpleasant taste.
Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Only the dentist or oral surgeon can determine that based on your dental assessment. If the wisdom teeth may cause potential harm in the future, the dentist may recommend you have an extraction.
Wisdom teeth extraction is done to save the dental structure and protect your teeth from damage.
How Is Wisdom Extraction Done?
The success and ease of the procedure depends on the stage of wisdom tooth development and the location and position of the teeth. Wisdom teeth that are fully erupted are easier to extract than the impacted ones. For teeth that are embedded in the jaw, the extraction is done in sections rather than pulling the whole tooth at once to prevent bone loss.
Before the impacted teeth are removed, the dentist will numb the surrounding teeth. A sedative such as laughing gas may be used to reduce the anxiety. Next, the tooth will be extracted and the gum cleaned.
What Can You Expect After the Tooth Removal?
The recovery of the procedure will depend on the type of extraction that was done either simple or surgical extraction. Regardless of the surgical procedure done, you will experience facial swelling and bleeding in the first 24 hours. The dentist will prescribe pain medication to relieve the pain and antibiotics for controlling the infection.
If you have unexplained jaw pain and tender gums, contact us for a dental assessment. Your wisdom teeth may be impacted and need extraction.