Why do we even have wisdom teeth?
Anthropologists believe they were the evolutionary answer to our ancestors coarse diet, to use for chewing and grinding. Roll on to the current day and for many, they are a pain, literally!
Wisdom teeth start to form at around 10 years old and erupt normally between the ages of 17 and 25, the age we supposedly become ‘wiser’, hence the nickname ‘wisdom teeth’. Not everyone will have wisdom teeth and for those who do – some may experience no problems. For many though these teeth can pose problems, particularly during the eruption process.
Today we are going to explore some of the most common symptoms of impacted
wisdom teeth. Impacted means teeth that do not have room to emerge or develop properly, leading to complications such as pain and infection.
If you experience pain not typical to a normal tooth niggle, particularly focused on the
back area of your jaw this could be a sign of impacted or erupting wisdom teeth. A dental examination, normally accompanied with a panoral (all around) x-ray can quickly and easily determine the position of your wisdom teeth and the cause of pain.
If your jaw suddenly feels tender to touch and looks swollen towards the back of the
jaw, particularly back towards your ear, this is also a very common sign.
Partly erupted wisdom teeth
Sometimes wisdom teeth can partly be seen emerging from the gum, but not fully through yet. There may be insufficient room for them to erupt fully which can lead to complications. Often there will be a flap of gum covering some of the tooth as it tries to push through. Being unable to keep this area clean due to limited access can cause infection which can be detected by a bad taste and smell, often extreme pain as well as limited opening of the mouth. This is a condition known as pericoronitis and can normally be helped with salt water rinses, effective cleaning advice and if required, antibiotics.
If you experience any of the symptoms above then you need to see a dentist to determine the cause and the course of treatment, if any, is required.
If you have any questions please ask, we’re here to help!