What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom Teeth are the teeth that develop at the very back of your mouth. These large molars usually erupt in your late teens. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each back corner of your mouth. However, you can have more than four wisdom teeth or less! Read on to find out everything you need to know about wisdom teeth.
You can sometimes experience some pain or discomfort as your wisdom teeth erupt. This is because they gradually push through your gums and sometimes even cause your other teeth to move too. This can cause inflammation in your gums, as well as aches and pains around your teeth and jaw.
History teaches us that our human ancestors needed to develop wisdom teeth in order to grind their food properly. They needed much stronger teeth than we require now as their diets usually consisted of raw meat and foliage. Plus, without knives and forks your gnashers needed to be able to gnaw through tough meats.
Today, wisdom teeth are pretty much redundant as our diets are made up of far softer foods (you won’t find us munching on plant roots!) and we can cut our food down to manageable sizes, using the revolutionary knife and fork!
What Age Do You Start To Develop Wisdom Teeth?
It is usually between 17 and 25 years of age that these teeth erupt. However, there have been many cases of wisdom teeth erupting much later in life. There is actually a known case of a wisdom tooth erupting at the age of ninety-four! This case even made it to the Guinness World Records!
Common Symptoms Your Wisdom Teeth Are Coming Through
It is usual to experience some pain and discomfort when your wisdom teeth start to come through. Here are the most common signs that your wisdom teeth are starting to erupt:
- Pain or discomfort at the back of your mouth as your wisdom tooth moves up into your mouth, pushing on your other teeth, nerves and bone.
- Swelling or inflammation around the area your wisdom tooth is emerging, making the area tender or red.
- Jaw pain, aching and swelling around your jaw.
- Experiencing bad breath or an bad taste in your mouth.
- Struggling to open your mouth due to discomfort.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth & Common Problems
It is not uncommon for a wisdom tooth to not emerge all the way, this is known as an impacted wisdom tooth. This is where your wisdom tooth is unable to fully emerge due to something blocking its path. This could be another tooth, bone or the tooth simply does not have enough room to develop normally. Sometimes an impacted tooth will partially come through so you may see some of the tooth’s crown or it might not ever break through the gums.
Your wisdom teeth may grow at an angle, whether that’s towards its neighboring tooth, towards the back of your mouth, at a right angle or it could grow normally but still become trapped by your jawbone.
There are a number of problems that can occur if your wisdom tooth becomes impacted. Your other teeth may become damaged if your new wisdom tooth pushes against them. This damage may cause infection and can also result in your teeth becoming misaligned as your mouth becomes crowded. An orthodontics solution will be able to help if your wisdom teeth cause overcrowding.
Wisdom teeth are more likely to suffer from decay as they are harder to clean than the rest of your mouth, this is especially true for impacted teeth. This means that trapped food and bacteria will get trapped between the gum and the tooth and stay there.
As wisdom teeth are more difficult to clean, in particular impacted and partially emerged teeth, you may have a higher risk of developing gum disease. This can result in an inflammatory gum condition is called pericoronitis. Gum conditions can be resolved with periodontal treatment.
When your wisdom tooth is developing it is formed in a sac inside the jawbone. Occasionally that sac can form a cyst that can damage teeth, jawbone and nerves.
These common problems can be treated with a visit to the dentist. Give us a call today to discuss your wisdom teeth problems and we will find a solution that will work for you.
How to Relieve Wisdom Tooth Pain
Wisdom teeth pain is very common and can sometimes be unbearable. There are a number of different ways you can relieve the pain when your wisdom teeth are erupting, including:
- Over the counter medication such as ibuprofen to lessen the pain and reduce inflammation
- Dental numbing gel that is used directly on the affected area to dull the pain
- An ice pack covered with a tea towel (or something similar) to hold up against your jaw
- Freshly boiled water with a couple of tablespoons of salt mixed in. Once the water has cooled to a drinkable temperature, swell the mixture around your mouth for a few minutes and spit out
- Cloves or clove oil to numb the pain. Simply apply the oil or put the clover over the tooth that is causing the pain (do not chew the whole clove!)
If your wisdom teeth have erupted as far as they can and you are still experiencing pain you should get a professional dentist to take a look as there may be a serious problem.
Check your wisdom teeth are healthy and progressing normally by visiting our friendly and professional dentist in Glendora. Book your appointment today: