The third adult molars, or commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the very last set to teeth to develop in the mouth and generally erupt in the late teens or early twenties.
For most people, there are four wisdom teeth, but it isn’t uncommon for some to only develop one or two.
An early assessment of wisdom teeth is best done during a routine dental examination and with dental x-rays. The radiographs allow us to detect the presence of any developing wisdom teeth and also predictably determine whether the wisdom teeth have sufficient space for its proper eruption. It isn’t too uncommon to see angulated or impacted wisdom teeth, and in such cases, it is appropriate to have them removed before they can potentially damage the neighbouring teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause discomfort, thereby prompting a dentist visit, but isn’t always the case.
Often times wisdom teeth may be partially erupted or exposed, with the remaining tooth still covered by gingiva or gum. The gum coverage can act as a food or plaque trap, and occasionally can result in inflammation or swelling with intense pain. Careful cleaning by the help of a dentist is required, however the recurrence of a similar episode may necessitate removal of the offending wisdom teeth.
There are instances where there is sufficient space for the wisdom teeth and it is appropriate to not have them removed. However, good oral hygiene practice is needed with regular dental check ups to ensure there is effective plaque removal as it may be difficult to clean and floss around wisdom teeth. The contacting molar may develop decay if proper hygiene is neglected, necessitating dental treatment to this tooth.
If you are experiencing problems with your wisdom teeth or would like to have them assessed, contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our dentists at Essential Care Dental.