Wisdom teeth – who are they and what are they up to

Wisdom teeth can get ‘stuck’ on occasion, which usually occurs if they erupt horizontally or backwards. They certainly don’t like to conform.

From infancy to adulthood, your teeth have been taking their good sweet time to pop up like pearly daisies in your gums. It starts with your incisors (front teeth), your canines (your pointy ‘vampire’ teeth), your premolars and molars (the big teeth in the sides of your mouth that you use for crunching and munching), and finally…your wisdom teeth. Your wisdom teeth have enjoyed a long, luxurious sleep-in and, when the time is right, they pop up to say ‘good morning’!

The 411

Fun fact: it is genetically possible to be born and grow without wisdom teeth, but for those of us who have them we can expect four to pop up between the ages of 17-25. It is for this reason – the individual’s more mature age – that wisdom teeth are named thus (not due to their being more intelligent than your other teeth, unfortunately).

The fashion in which they emerge depends entirely on the individual. Some people experience no obvious change as their wisdom teeth seamlessly erupt, while others can experience pain, discomfort, and even infection.

Indeed, wisdom teeth can be the most obnoxious trouble-makers in your developing mouth. The worst part is that they are seemingly without function: they aren’t necessarily needed for chewing, so you’re getting all this fuss for nothing. Perhaps wisdom teeth were a little more necessary back when humans ate tougher, meatier foods, but these days our diets are soft and easy on the teeth – we don’t necessarily need a backup pair!

What to expect when you’re erupting

  • Wisdom teeth can get ‘stuck’ on occasion, which usually occurs if they erupt horizontally or backwards. They certainly don’t like to conform.
  • Wisdom teeth have a high risk of decay, as they are often hard to get at with your toothbrush. You may not even know you have them, let alone the fact that you are neglecting them.
  • Depending on what angle your wisdom teeth are coming from, they can eventually push your other teeth in unhealthy angles which can be difficult to mend. Difficult, but not impossible for your favourite Lower Hutt Dentists at Switch!
  • The gums around and under which your wisdom teeth are positioned can often become swollen and infected. This is called pericoronitis, and it can cause so much pain that it becomes almost impossible to open your mouth! Not fun.

So what’s the good news?

Luckily for you, we have Dr. Lee – our wisdom teeth expert! Dr. Lee has been masterfully trained in the art of careful wisdom tooth extraction. He was trained by oral surgeons at Hutt Hospital, so you won’t have to go all the way to Newtown to get your wisdom teeth removed! Get in touch with the team at Switch today to get on top of those wisdom teeth before they get on top of you!

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