Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. For most people, there are four of them, which emerge at the very back of both upper and lower jaws between the ages of 17 and 25. While they can, in some cases, erupt properly and without incident, the majority of people do not have enough room in the jaw for that to happen. Third molars that cannot emerge properly can cause a variety of dental problems, which is why Dr. Arroyo typically recommends wisdom teeth removal in such cases.

Common Wisdom Teeth Problems

With the addition of wisdom teeth in the late teens or early 20s, the number of teeth in mouth rises to 32. Unfortunately, the average jaw today can only accommodate 28. There are a couple of reasons for that discrepancy. First, the human jaw is not as large as it was many generations ago, causing third molars to be crowded out. Secondly, better dental care has ensured that most of us still have all 28 teeth when it is time for wisdom teeth to emerge, whereas years ago, many had already suffered tooth loss, creating space for third molars.

When wisdom teeth attempt to emerge into an already crowded jaw, they often become twisted or tilted as they struggle to for space to erupt. This can lead to wisdom teeth emerging in awkward positions, tilting towards adjacent teeth or towards the cheek, for instance, or they can fail to erupt, becoming fully or partially impacted – which means trapped beneath gum tissue or bone or blocked by adjacent teeth. Fully impacted third molars will not break through the gum tissue at all, while partially impacted ones may begin to emerge, with a portion of the tooth showing above the gum line and the rest remaining buried beneath it.

Left untreated, fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth can cause dental problems and symptoms that may include pain, inflammation, infection and gum disease, among others. However, by the time these symptoms appear, damage has often already been done to adjacent teeth, their roots or other oral structures. In many cases, no obvious symptoms are present, but damage and disease can be brewing under the surface, as impacted wisdom teeth rest against other teeth, causing gradual damage, or cysts develop around impacted teeth, slowly damaging soft tissue and eroding bone.

Detecting Problematic Wisdom Teeth

The best way to avoid these problems is early detection. By using dental imaging to monitor the development of wisdom teeth, dentists can often spot the potential for trouble well before third molars begin to emerge. This allows wisdom teeth removal to be done before problematic third molars become painful or cause damage. To accomplish this, monitoring of wisdom teeth should begin around age 13 or 14 to ensure that any emerging issues are caught quickly.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. For most people, there are four of them, which emerge at the very back of both upper and lower jaws between the ages of 17 and 25. While they can, in some cases, erupt properly and without incident, the majority of people do not have enough room in the jaw for that to happen. Third molars that cannot emerge properly can cause a variety of dental problems, which is why Dr. Arroyo typically recommends wisdom teeth removal in such cases.

Wisdom Teeth

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