Wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. They are located in the very back of a person’s mouth.
Why are wisdom teeth a problem?
Wisdom teeth are not always a problem. Some people luck out and have wisdom teeth that are aligned properly, or are at least positioned in a way that does not cause them any major problems or issues.
The problems arise when the wisdom tooth is misaligned. Usually, this causes a tooth that is impacted (inside of the gum entirely) or which “partially erupts,” which means a portion of the tooth emerges from the gum line while a portion remains impacted.
A misaligned wisdom tooth can crowd other teeth, pushing your teeth out of alignment and making them harder to care for, which can put those teeth or your gum health at risk in addition to the cosmetic problems that can come with crowded teeth. They can also press on the jaw bone or nerve, causing quite a bit of pain.
Partially erupted wisdom teeth are no better. In fact, they can get quite a bit worse. It’s easy for bacteria to get trapped between the partially erupted tooth and the gum. The position of this tooth makes it incredibly hard to brush, floss, or care for in any way, so it’s usually only a matter of time before an infection starts.
The infection can cause bleeding, swelling, soreness, tooth decay and other problems. The decay can even spread to adjacent teeth.
When must wisdom teeth be removed?
You can have wisdom teeth removed any time that they cause problems. However, it’s best to have them evaluated between the ages of 16 and 19.
During the evaluation the dentist will be deciding whether the risks of surgery outweigh the risks of leaving the tooth in place. Every person is different, so it’s impossible to know until this evaluation takes place.
You want your children to have this evaluation done because these teeth are much easier to remove when you are younger. However, if you are older and having problems there are still ways for a dentist to get at that tooth if necessary.
Fortunately, if you’re over the age of 30 and you’ve never experienced any problems then you are probably in the clear. If problems were going to rear their ugly heads they’d have done so already.
If you’re experiencing mouth pain that could be associated with a misaligned wisdom tooth and you live in Edmond, OK, please call our office today for an appointment. We’ll take care of you and make sure that you enjoy a healthy mouth for years to come.