Wisdom teeth are known for being unpredictable. For many people, the crowns of these third molars begin to form between the ages of 8 and 12 and erupt sometime between their 17th and 21st birthdays. However, wisdom teeth that are impacted or partially impacted may take longer to appear.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when wisdom teeth are likely to emerge, but extraction sometime between the ages of 18 and 20 minimizes the risk of complications.
Whatever the case, there are many reasons to have wisdom teeth removed, as they can cause a number of oral problems and there are certain signs that indicate when it’s time to proceed with wisdom tooth extraction. We recommend having a dentist check for these signs so that the teeth can be removed before they are fully formed.
When a wisdom tooth is partially erupted
Partially impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that only emerge partway. In such cases, bacteria may accumulate in the gums, causing the tissue around the tooth to become irritated and inflamed. This is called pericoronitis. The inflammation can cause considerable jaw pain, a bad taste in the mouth, and difficulty opening the mouth and chewing.
To resolve the problem, start by taking particular care with your oral hygiene. However, if the inflammation and pain persist, you will need to eliminate the source of the problem—the partially impacted wisdom tooth.
When there isn’t enough space
When a wisdom tooth erupts, it may crowd the other teeth. If the jaw is too small to accommodate new teeth, wisdom teeth may even become stuck underneath the second molars.
We strongly recommend having a specialist look at your mouth and jaw before the onset of symptoms. X-rays can help determine the size of the jaw, position of the wisdom teeth and whether they are likely to cause problems. With this information, the dental surgeon can intervene quickly and remove the wisdom teeth before they become a serious problem.
When wisdom teeth have cavities
Wisdom teeth can be difficult to reach when brushing, so it’s not uncommon for them to develop cavities. Cavities must be treated in order to prevent further complications. In many cases, it may prove preferable to proceed to a wisdom teeth removal rather than repair them. Particularly when it comes to wisdom teeth, extraction is one of the best ways to eliminate cavities.
Don’t wait! Contact a specialist today
There is no set age for wisdom teeth removal, but there are several factors that can help determine the right time for extraction. It’s best to be proactive—don’t wait for pain and other symptoms to appear before contacting an oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist.