Wisdom teeth are your third molars set in the back of your mouth. Traditionally, wisdom teeth come in around ages 17-25. They may not need to be removed, but many issues can arise as your wisdom teeth start to come in and if they don’t grow in properly you can end up experiencing a lot of pain. 

Symptoms of painful wisdom teeth include:

  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Swelling around the jaw.
  • Bad breath.
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth.
  • A hard time opening your mouth.

The most common problems regarding wisdom teeth growth include:

  • Teeth that don’t erupt. These teeth stay completely under your gums and are called impacted wisdom teeth. If they can’t grow out properly, they become trapped within your jaw. Sometimes you’ll hear of people whose wisdom teeth come in sideways or horizontally; these teeth can either be impacted or partially erupted. This causes issues if there is an infection, which can lead to a cyst. Since these teeth are trapped directly in your jaw, decay of these teeth can cause an infection that will then disrupt your bone structure and other teeth roots.
  • Teeth that partially erupt. Sometimes, your wisdom teeth will want to erupt, but they won’t come in all the way. These teeth cannot be properly cleaned, which leads to a higher risk of cavities, and fillings cannot be placed in a partially erupted tooth. Additionally, the chances of food getting lodged between your gum and partial tooth can increase your risk for gum disease and infection. 

Your wisdom teeth may not need to be removed if:

  • They are healthy
  • They grow in correctly
  • Your mouth has space for them
  • They are able to be properly cleaned

Many Dentists and Oral Surgeons recommend getting your wisdom teeth removed if they are not completely erupted by the age of 25. Taking your wisdom teeth as a young adult is a less complicated surgery, and your body recovers a lot faster from it. Since your teeth roots aren’t fully developed yet, there’s less disruption in your jaw with the extractions. Many young adults have their wisdom teeth pulled before they can cause any problems, or removed as treatment for braces or other dental care.

Talk to your dentist and oral surgeon if any of these symptoms arise. Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored because the potential for developing problems later on still exists. Continue with regular dental check ups, cleanings, and x-rays to ensure any later issues with wisdom teeth are caught early or prevented. 

Visit our article on Impacted Wisdom Teeth to learn more.