Many people who don’t otherwise have dental anxiety are afraid of their wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most dreaded yet often-performed procedures in oral health. Learn a little more about your wisdom teeth and let Lanier Family & Cosmetic Dentistry help alleviate some of that anxiety.
1. They Have A Formal Name
Wisdom teeth are named because they erupt later in life, usually between the ages of 17-25. They are clinically referred to as “third molars” because they are similar to the first two sets of molars towards the back of the mouth, but they erupt later in life.
Third molars can cause problems because they erupt after the rest of the teeth are almost completely settled in their permanent positions, which limits the amount of space the wisdom teeth have to grow in. In some cases, this can lead to pain or infection, but some patients never have problems!
2. Not Everyone Has Them
Yes, some lucky few are born without wisdom teeth! Dentists can see whether they’re present on a dental X-ray, and if there are no signs of the third molars below the gum line, they may not come in at all. The X-ray can also show their positioning before they erupt and may allow the dentist to predict whether the teeth will be able to erupt properly.
In some cases, however, the wisdom teeth can erupt many years beyond young adulthood. Next time you see Dr. Brown or Dr. Newberry, ask if your wisdom teeth are still waiting to come out or if you could have been born without them. You may be surprised!
3. They Don’t Always Come In at the Same Time!
Wisdom teeth are “scheduled” to come in between the ages of 17 to 25, but they don’t all have to come in at the same time. All four may in fact erupt together, but it’s also possible for the two on top to come in before, or after, the two on the bottom — or even for one set to come in while the other never comes in!
Not all four will definitely cause problems, either. Depending on the available space in the upper and lower jaw, one set may cause problems while the other is able to grow in properly. If there isn’t enough room, they may become impacted. Sometimes, because of their position, wisdom teeth are harder to clean, which could lead to infection, but this isn’t always the case.
If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to contact Lanier Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today by calling 678-359-4707 or scheduling an appointment online.