Wisdom Teeth Basics

We often hear stories of teenagers and adults having their wisdom teeth taken out, which may lead some to wonder about their own wisdom teeth. For example, you might start to question what wisdom teeth are, where they are located, and if you have to get yours out as well.

When do wisdom teeth grow in? Where are wisdom teeth located in the mouth?

For starters, wisdom teeth are molar teeth (also known as your third set of molars) that develop and begin to grow into the mouth during adolescence or young adulthood. There are four wisdom teeth total and they are located in the back of the mouth. The wisdom teeth are located as follows: one on the upper left, another on the upper right, one on the bottom left, and one on the bottom right.

When should wisdom teeth be extracted?

In many cases, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for these teeth to grow in, and/or they grow in “impacted” (crooked, sideways, etc.). When this happens, the neighboring teeth may get damaged, begin to crowd, and develop infections, cavities, and/or cysts. In order to prevent this from occurring, a dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that these teeth be extracted as soon as possible.

Do wisdom teeth always need to be extracted?

While it’s fairly common to need a wisdom tooth extraction, some people may never need to worry about their wisdom teeth at all.  Although, these lucky people will still have to maintain their oral health which includes having regular dental cleanings and exams, as well as any necessary x-rays. Nevertheless, wisdom teeth aren’t necessary for eating or speaking, so if you need to have them taken out, you won’t necessarily miss them. Many dentists may even recommend having them removed before they begin to push through the gums, as it may make the extraction easier to do.

5 warning signs to watch out for

If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth taken out yet, these are some important signs that it’s time for them to go:

1. Pain in the back of the mouth

2. Pus, bleeding and inflammation of the gums In the back of the mouth

3. Pain upon chewing (using the back molars)

4. Appearance of an abscess on the gums in the area that wisdom teeth are located

Not all of the aforementioned signs mean that you’ll need your wisdom teeth taken out. Sometimes, those symptoms appear for other reasons. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing any of those signs, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

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