Wisdom teeth usually grow in between the ages of about 17 and 21.
They are also sometimes called the ‘third molar’.
Wisdom teeth grow in sets on the top and the bottom, and they are situated at the back of the mouth, behind your molars, for a total of 4 new teeth.
Generally, people have 28 teeth. When the wisdom teeth come in, they will have 32 teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Getting wisdom teeth extracted is a fairly common procedure.
This is because wisdom teeth often don’t come in perfectly aligned and fitted into the mouth.
They can come in very crowded or sideways or become impacted (stuck and unable to grow in properly) against other teeth or bone.
What Are the Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Coming In?
It is common for wisdom teeth to be impacted. If the teeth are impacted, the wisdom tooth and root will continue to grow but won’t have enough room to develop properly. The tooth may be impacted below the gum or it may poke out only partially.
Infection can occur when wisdom teeth only partially erupt (poke out). There will basically be an opening in the gum where food can get trapped and bacteria and infection can grow. If this is the case, having the wisdom teeth extracted can be very time sensitive. It’s important to deal with the issues of impacted, infected wisdom teeth quickly.
Sensitivity and swelling can be a key indicator that your wisdom teeth are coming in. Some swelling and sensitivity can be common even when the teeth are growing in in a healthy position. It’s a great idea to visit a dentist at this point though to determine if the teeth are growing in impacted or nice and straight. If you are experiencing pain, get in to see a dentist as quickly as possible.
Impacted teeth can sometimes cause headaches. The teeth can be lodged against other teeth or bone and causing pressure that can cause headaches. If you are normally a headache sufferer, you may not twig to this as something out of the ordinary. This is where regular dental visits will serve you well. The dentist can catch this with x-rays and recommend the best actions to take. Having a dentist involved early can often head off many of the problems of impacted teeth by removing them before the pain and symptoms kick in. Sometimes the dentist will take a wait and see approach and monitor how the teeth are developing.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are considered evolutionary. Our cave people ancestors had a much rougher diet chewing on sticks and roughage. These teeth coming in later in life would have been a real life saver for them. For us with our softer diet (and modern dental care!) these teeth aren’t as necessary.
Crocodile Fun Fact
Interestingly, crocodiles are are able to replace each of their 80 teeth up to 50 times in their lifetime! That’s 4,000 teeth!
Kits Family Dental Can Help
We do regular xray screening keeping an eye out for developing wisdom teeth, especially in adolescents and people in their early 20’s. We see wisdom teeth starting to develop from as early as age 14 or so, usually before the parents have begun to think of it!
We’re experienced in working with older patients that have wisdom teeth as well.
Contact Kits Family Dental for an appointment. As is our motto, preventative care is really the way to go in dentistry and it is definitely the case with wisdom teeth. If we can prevent a patient from reaching a point where their wisdom teeth are impacted and painfully infected, we consider this very important work. Book your appointment online.