Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt. They come out in the late teens to early twenties. When they come through correctly, healthy wisdom teeth can help you chew.
It’s normal to feel a little discomfort when your wisdom teeth appear, but if you have pain, see your dentist immediately. If there isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth to come out they will be misaligned and require removal.
When the wisdom teeth are misaligned they can cause crowding of the teeth and can damage the teeth that are around them and can also cause damage to the nerves.
Wisdom teeth can also be impacted which can cause some pain, including jaw pain and tenderness, redness and swelling of the gums around the tooth, bad breath, or a bad taste when you bite down on food.
You can sometimes relieve minor irritation by rinsing with warm salt water. Over-the-counter pain relievers also may help. If the tooth continues to cause pain, is infected or interferes with nearby teeth, the usual treatment is to take it out. Extracting one tooth can take 5 to 30 minutes, depending on where it is. In some cases, an infection requires antibiotics.
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always show symptoms, meaning you could have impacted teeth and not even realize it. If symptoms do start, it is usually the result of the gum on top of the tooth becoming infected or swollen.
Symptoms may include pain, swollen and bleeding gums, swelling around the jaw, bad breath, headache or jaw ache, and an unpleasant taste when eating. Impacted wisdom teeth that are left untreated can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, not only to the wisdom tooth itself but to the teeth around it.
If you do not experience any of these symptoms then you are one of the lucky people that get to keep their wisdom teeth. But keep in mind they are all the way in the back of the mouth so they will be a little harder to clean. The toothbrush head doesn’t always reach back there, so make sure to visit your dentist regularly for your cleanings.