Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth or adult teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth. Some people may have all four wisdom teeth, while others may have fewer or none at all. In addition, some are healthy when they erupt, while others come in at odd angles.
As a result, they can cause various issues like severe or mild pain and may require removal if they do not properly align or become impacted.
Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?
Not everyone has wisdom teeth. In fact, studies suggest that approximately 35% of people are born without them. The absence of wisdom teeth results from evolutionary changes over time. And not having them is not harmful or problematic.
People with wisdom teeth may experience various signs and symptoms when these teeth start coming in.
At What Age Do Wisdom Teeth Come in?
Wisdom teeth typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties, usually between 17 and 25. However, the exact timing can vary from person to person. It’s essential to monitor for signs of wisdom tooth eruption during this period to address any potential issues promptly.
How Long Does the Pain of Growing Wisdom Teeth Last?
The duration and intensity of pain associated with growing wisdom teeth can vary. For some individuals, it may last only a few days or weeks, while for others, it may persist for months. Also, some may experience intense pain while others may experience only slight discomfort.
It’s crucial to consult with a dentist to determine the best course of action and alleviate discomfort.
How Do I Know if My Wisdom Teeth Are Coming in?
Recognizing the common symptoms of wisdom teeth coming in can help you take appropriate measures to maintain oral health.
Here are the five first signs to watch out for:
1. Jaw Pain
One of the most common signs of wisdom teeth eruption is a dull ache or soreness near the back of the jaw. Impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on the surrounding teeth and jaw bones. This discomfort may initially be intermittent but can become more frequent and intense as the teeth continue to emerge.
2. Tender or Swollen Gums
Wisdom teeth can cause gum irritation, leading to tenderness, redness, and inflammation around the area where the teeth are coming in. This can make it uncomfortable to chew or bite down.
3. Difficulty Opening Mouth
As wisdom teeth begin to grow, some individuals may experience difficulty fully opening their mouths. This restriction in jaw movement can be attributed to swelling or pressure caused by the emerging teeth.
4. Unpleasant Taste or Smell
When wisdom teeth partially erupt, they create small spaces or pockets where food particles and bacteria can accumulate. This can result in an unpleasant taste or persistent bad breath.
5. Crowding or Shifting Teeth
The arrival of wisdom teeth can disrupt the alignment of existing neighboring teeth, causing crowding or shifting. This change in tooth position may affect the overall bite and require orthodontic intervention.
How Early Can You See Wisdom Teeth on Dental X-Ray?
The development of wisdom teeth can be seen on X-rays as early as 10-12 years of age. At this stage, the buds of the wisdom teeth may be visible on a panoramic X-ray.
X-rays are commonly used to detect the presence and positioning of wisdom teeth. Dentists may recommend taking panoramic or periapical X-rays to evaluate the development and angulation of these teeth. X-ray images can provide valuable information about wisdom teeth’ size, location, and orientation, even before they emerge visibly.
Signs and Symptoms Your Wisdom Teeth Are Not Coming in Properly
Here are some common warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth:
- Swollen or red gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to gum inflammation and swelling around the affected area.
- Tender or bleeding gums. Gums may become sensitive, tender, or even bleed due to the pressure from impacted wisdom teeth.
- Jaw pain. Discomfort or pain in the jaw can occur, especially near the location of the impacted wisdom tooth.
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste. Bacteria can accumulate around impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in a bad smell or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Facial swelling. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can cause facial swelling, particularly in the area surrounding the affected tooth.
- Frequent headaches. Some individuals may experience headaches due to tension and pressure caused by impacted wisdom teeth.
- Difficulties opening the mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can restrict the movement of the jaw, making it challenging to open the mouth fully.
- Tooth sensitivity. When a wisdom tooth is impacted or does not have enough space to emerge fully, it can put pressure on the adjacent teeth, leading to various issues, including tooth sensitivity.
It’s important to note that these signs and symptoms may vary from person to person. If you suspect you have impacted wisdom teeth or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a dental professional for a proper evaluation and appropriate treatment.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Not all third molars need to be removed. However, wisdom tooth extraction is often recommended in the following situations:
- Impaction. When wisdom teeth do not have enough space to emerge or grow in a proper position fully, they may become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, gum tissue infection, nearby teeth issues, and other dental complications.
- Crowding. If wisdom teeth cause overcrowding or misalignment of existing teeth, removal may be necessary to maintain proper dental alignment and prevent future orthodontic issues.
- Decay or gum disease. Wisdom teeth are notoriously difficult to clean thoroughly due to their location. This can make them susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and infection. Extraction may be recommended if repeated issues occur despite efforts to maintain oral hygiene.
- Cysts or tumors. In rare cases, wisdom teeth can lead to the development of cysts, tumors, or other pathology. Removal is typically necessary to prevent further complications or damage to surrounding structures.
If you experience any of the signs mentioned earlier or your dentist recommends extraction based on X-ray findings or other factors, it is important to schedule a consultation to discuss the best course of action for your situation.
Recognizing the signs of wisdom teeth coming in can help you stay proactive about your oral health. If you notice any of the symptoms above, it is essential to consult with a dentist for a proper evaluation and guidance. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can also aid in monitoring the development of wisdom teeth and addressing any potential issues promptly.
Remember, early detection and appropriate intervention can help prevent complications and maintain a healthy smile.