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Wisdom teeth are the cause of many problems in adults. But what are they, what causes the pain and when should you get them removed? Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and how we can help you at Whistler Dental.

What are they?

Wisdom teeth, (or third molars) usually appear in adults between the age of 17 and 25. Early humans needed stronger teeth due to a coarse diet of nuts, leaves and meat. These days, our softer diet and access to tools makes them unnecessary – however we are yet to evolve away from them.

Problems and complications

Completing your full set of 32 adult teeth, wisdom teeth have been known to be the cause of much discomfort in adults. Pain can be caused when they grow side ways or only emerge partly, leading to infection and other serious issues.

What problems can be caused?

When teeth become trapped in gums they become ‘impacted.’ This leads to problems including misalignment of teeth, pain or infection. Symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth can include: pain, damage to adjacent teeth, headache or jaw ache, gum injection and even bad breath.

Why you should get a check up

Regular dental check ups are vital to keep an eye on what the teeth are doing. Dentists can check for signs of infections such as tenderness, swelling and inflamed gums. X-rays will show where the teeth are positioned, check for signs of crowding and ensure the right removal strategy can be implemented.

What happens if they are not removed?

While you might think you can manage with a bit of discomfort, there are many reasons why they should be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts. Not only are these painful but they can also damage the adjacent teeth and even the jaw bone. The longer you put off removing these teeth, the more chance of damage to your teeth, gums and bones can occur. Infections can lead to other health problems as well, so it is important they are addressed.

Crowding

Sometimes wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding and as a result it is still necessary to remove them. Even if they are not a cause of pain, they can make you susceptible to cavities. Too many teeth in a small space makes them less easy to clean which can result in further problems.

Not all wisdom teeth cause problems and some pain while they are growing can be managed easily. It is important to make sure you floss and use fluoride mouthwash to make sure your teeth are kept in good condition. Book an appointment with Whistler Dental to get the best advise about how to care for your wisdom teeth.

Most parts of the body are formed at birth. We get one set of bones, organs, eyes and hands that all develop and age with us as we grow older. However, the same cannot be said for our teeth. Our teeth go through an interesting and dramatically different lifecycle, from the first signs of teething, to permanent teeth developing, the pain of wisdom teeth and eventually tooth decay. Here’s a brief summary of what to expect at each stage.

A tooth is born

While newborns do not have any teeth, their front teeth are already fully formed. Teeth start forming just 6 weeks after conception, when they begin to grow down into the developing jaw. These teeth start to come through when a baby reaches around 2-3 months old, and most children have a full set of 20 milk teeth by the time they are 3. As teeth develop, they take on many shades. Tooth colour has a lot to do with genetics, so don’t worry if they appear discoloured initially.

Permanent teeth develop

When kids reach around 5 or 6, their jaws are strong enough to support permanent teeth, and so baby teeth start to fall out and visits from the Tooth Fairy begin. Developing permanent teeth eventually put enough pressure on the roots of the baby teeth, which causes them to break. By the time to tooth falls out, most of the root has already been reabsorbed into the gums. Their new adult tooth could appear in as soon as a week, or as long as six months.

The pain of wisdom teeth

Though our first incisors make an appearance at around age 6, our third set of molars often don’t come in until late teens. Believed to have been necessary for our ancestors’ diet, many people today are born with a jawbone that simply doesn’t have space for another set of molars. This overcrowding can cause wisdom teeth to be impacted – or stuck – between the jawbone and the other set of molars. Some can even get stuck and get infected while erupting, meaning they need to be taken out.

The aging tooth

Like all parts of the body, as people age, our teeth age with us. Cavities in the dentin become more common, and the risk of periodontal disease also increases. While many people do eventually need to have teeth removed, if you practice proper dental care from an early age and continue to do so at every stage of your tooth’s lifecycle, your teeth may well last a lifetime!

Whistler Dental would love to give you the reliable, affordable and exceptional dental care you need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile for life. We offer a family-friendly environment and have plenty of experience with children of all ages, so please get in contact.