Wisdom teeth tend to come through between the ages of 18 and 25. Developing towards the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth sit at the rear corners of the upper and lower dental arch. While some patients may develop all their wisdom teeth, others may not develop them at all, while others might develop just one. Because the need for wisdom teeth has decreased as humans have evolved, our jaws are now somewhat smaller than they used to be, meaning wisdom teeth often develop into overcrowded mouths, leading to impaction or irregular development.
Not all patients will experience any symptoms when their wisdom teeth erupt, but it is very common to do so. This is due to the teeth developing in a crowded jaw, which can cause the wisdom teeth to become impacted or to develop in an irregular way. Both of these can cause pain in the patient, as well as inflammation, infection, and swelling. In certain cases, it can lead to bad breath due to the bacteria that develops around the impacted tooth. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, then you may be in need of an extraction.
Not all patients who develop wisdom teeth will need extraction, of course, but if you are experiencing pain due to the growth of your wisdom teeth, then this needs to be addressed. Other reasons why a wisdom tooth or teeth might need to be extracted include:
- Gum disease: impacted teeth are very hard to keep clean and clear of bacteria, which can lead to gum disease,
- Cysts: cysts can develop on wisdom teeth as a result of gas and liquid build-up in the infected bone of the impacted wisdom tooth,
- Cavities/caries: like gum disease, tooth decay can develop in impacted wisdom teeth due to poor oral hygiene as they are difficult to properly clean and maintain, resulting in a build-up of food debris and bacteria,
- Pericoronitis: pericoronitis is a type of infection that can develop in the gum tissue covering the impacted wisdom tooth and is also caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria.