Most adults have a total of 32 permanent teeth which include eight incisors, four canines (cuspids), eight bicuspids (premolars), and 12 molars. Molars are among the last adult teeth to erupt, usually between 9 and 12 years old. The third set of molars, also known as the “wisdom teeth,” generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 but can come in as early as 14 years old.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
The wisdom teeth are often the last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth. Some people never develop them and have fully-functional smiles. For others, they may erupt normally, appearing directly behind the second set of molars on both the upper and lower arches. Problems can occur when there is not enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to erupt or they only erupt partially, resulting in impaction.
What Is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
Impacted wisdom teeth occur when the third molars become fully or partially trapped in the gums or jawbone. This prevents them from erupting normally. In some cases, wisdom teeth may be blocked by other teeth, such as in the case of crowding in the mouth.
An impacted wisdom tooth can cause an array of dental problems, such as:
- Jaw pain
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Swelling around the jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Bad breath
Wisdom teeth are more susceptible to infection than others for several reasons. They are located in the far back of the mouth; they are harder to clean and bacteria can quickly accumulate in this area. When they are partially impacted, soft tissue can grow over the tooth, resulting in an infection known as pericoronitis.
Your Dental Treatment can range based on the position of the tooth and the severity of the oral symptoms
First, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to clear up any infection present or prevent future infection. In some cases, the tooth may need to be removed surgically to prevent any further discomfort.
When Should I See a Dentist?
There are several circumstances in which seeing a dentist for a wisdom tooth problem is a wise decision. First, you should contact your dentist if you are experiencing any tooth pain or have an emerging wisdom tooth. Your dentist will likely take X-rays to determine the number of wisdom teeth you have, if there is an infection present, and if treatment is needed.
You’ll also want to contact your dentist if you are experiencing certain symptoms, such as tooth infections, cavities, nerve pain, bone loss, or shifting. Note that removal can become more complicated later in life; therefore, it is best to have them removed early if possible.
Contact Vero Elite Dentistry
Scheduling regular visits to your dental practice is important to allow your dentist to keep a close eye on your emerging teeth. For more information about wisdom teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact Vero Elite Dentistry.