Wisdom teeth are the last molars on each side of the jaw. They are the last teeth to emerge, or erupt, usually when a person is between 16 and 24. Adults usually have 4 wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the jaw.
As wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come through there is often not enough room left in your mouth to accommodate them. This can lead to impacted wisdom teeth – teeth that are trapped beneath the gum tissue by other teeth or bone. If teeth are impacted, swelling and tenderness of the gum may occur and antibiotics may be prescribed to ease the inflammation.
This condition is called acute periocoronitis.
Wisdom teeth that only partially emerge or come through crooked may also lead to painful crowding and disease. Food and bacteria can get trapped around the edge of the wisdom tooth, causing a build-up of plaque, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, cellulitis or other problems.
Since teeth removed before the age of 20 have less developed roots and fewer complications, you should consult your dentist to have your wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed, especially is they have started to cause problems.
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Although each individual is different, generally speaking wisdom teeth are the very last teeth to come in. The general age that this happens can vary from one person to the next, but typically it occurs between the ages of 17-25.
It’s because these teeth come after the rest that they can cause such issues.
Some individuals won’t experience any pain or discomfort when their wisdom teeth, however it isn’t uncommon for people to experience intense pain in the mouth and surrounding jaw.
Wisdom tooth pain can often present as a dull throbbing which may ease once the tooth has broken through the surface of the gum. You may take over the counter pain relief, but it might be best to consult with your dentist who can look at the options available to you. In most cases, if you’re opting for one wisdom tooth to be removed, the dentist will remove all 4 (if applicable) to avoid any future issues from occurring.
Not everyone knows this, but no! Whilst you may get up to 4 wisdom teeth, it is totally normal to have fewer than 4, or even no wisdom teeth at all. Generally speaking, if you haven’t got 4 wisdom teeth by your mid to late twenties, you are unlikely to get any more.
Whilst removing wisdom teeth can be the best solution if you’re struggling with the pain or discomfort, in many cases it can be just as beneficial to leave them in situ.
If your wisdom teeth are growing without causing you any issue, keeping them means you won’t need to go through any invasive or painful oral surgery.