Everyone knows about wisdom teeth as the last annoying set of adult teeth in the mouth, and that they are often painful. Here we’ll try to shed some light on these mysterious teeth.

  1. Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17-25. These days their eruption is very unpredictable. In the past our diets included more raw, natural foods like meat, veggies and grains. Wisdom teeth, being the third molars in the mouth, were useful for chewing these foods. Due to the jaw muscles being stronger and jaw itself wider to accommodate these, there was never an issue with space or tooth impaction. As humans evolved and our food became more processed over time, there was no longer a need for all the chewing, jaws narrowed and wisdom teeth ran out of space in the jaw to erupt into.
  2. Wisdom teeth can grow at different angles due to the lack of eruption space for them to straighten into, leading to impaction. They can stay in the jawbone forever, be trapped under the adjacent tooth, only partially break through the gum or in some cases never form at all.
  3. Wisdom teeth can be pushing forward on the adjacent teeth. If you are having your teeth straightened your dentist or orthodontist may recommend them to be taken out to ensure they don’t affect the final tooth position and cause further crowding.
  4. As wisdom teeth slowly move through the jaw they can cause severe pain that many young adults are familiar with. If they come through only partially, the gum flap covering them can trap food particles and plaque, causing inflammation and infection. Being so far back in the mouth and hard to reach with the toothbrush doesn’t help either!
  5. Symptoms associated with wisdom teeth pain may include:
    1. Jaw ache, tongue or check pain
    2. Swollen and tender gum with bleeding
    3. Earaches and headaches
    4. Stiffness or pain in the jaw and neck, making mouth opening difficult
    5. Swelling in the jaw/face
    6. Sinus issues (with upper teeth)
    7. Bad breath
    8. Often the pain or the above symptoms may last several days or weeks. Management may include:
      1. Good oral hygiene, meticulous tooth brushing of this area
      2. Use of a medicated mouthwash such as Savacol
      3. Anti-inflammatory pain killers such as ibuprofen
      4. Visit to your dentist for deeper cleaning in the area
      5. Evaluation by your dentist whether wisdom teeth need to be removed. An x-ray of your whole mouth (OPG) will show the position of wisdom teeth and indicate whether they can be monitored or need to be removed.
      6. Wisdom teeth removal if they are
        1. constantly troublesome
        2. impacted under the adjacent tooth, causing it to decay
        3. surrounded by a cyst

If you are having trouble with wisdom teeth and not sure what to do, set up a consultation with your dentist.

EDG is happy to help, call us on 95316387 for an appointment.