Are wisdom teeth wise? No, not really! The term just refers to the timeframe between the ages of 17 and 21 when you mature and gain wisdom – and when your wisdom teeth are likely to come in. These teeth are your third or last set of molars to develop in the very back of your mouth in your top and bottom jaw bones.
While some people may have wisdom teeth that grow in perfectly aligned – often, for most people – these teeth emerge crooked or sideways. Sometimes, they may only partially erupt through your gums. Or, they may even remain hidden in your gums underneath your second molars. When this happens, Dr. Jon Erickson of Danville Family Dentistry, located in Hendricks County, will refer to your wisdom teeth as being impacted.
Your wisdom teeth may need to be removed, especially if you experience:
- Pain. The affected area may be red and tender to the touch. And you may have difficulty chewing food.
- Infection. A partially emerged wisdom tooth creates a passageway that allows bacteria to enter the soft tissue around the tooth, causing an infection to form.
- Cysts. A pocket of fluid can develop around an impacted tooth, causing pain and permanent damage to your jaw bone and other teeth.
- Tumors. An abnormal mass of tissue, usually benign, may form around an impacted tooth.
- Damage to adjacent teeth. If there isn’t enough room in your mouth, your erupting wisdom teeth can overcrowd your second molars, causing them to shift.
- Gum disease. An inflammation of your gums can occur when bacteria is introduced to the area around a partially emerged or impacted wisdom tooth.
- Extensive tooth decay. Since it’s hard to reach your third molars, you may not brush and floss these teeth as well as you should, making them vulnerable to tooth decay.
If you think you may be experiencing problems with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Erickson at his conveniently located Hendricks County office. He can take X-rays to see what’s going on with your wisdom teeth and determine if they need to be extracted or removed.
Since everyone’s teeth grow differently, you should visit Dr. Erickson regularly, so he can monitor the development of your wisdom teeth to determine if you should have these teeth removed before you start having problems. Call Danville Family Dentistry at 317.745.4400 to make your appointment today at our Hendricks County office.