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Wisdom Teeth: Myths Revealed

Two teenagers with masks over their eyes

Your wisdom teeth may begin developing in your early teenage years, but most finish developing by age 30.

We all know our wisdom teeth don’t actually make us “smarter,” but it would be nice if they did. They do however, continue developing when we are a little further into adulthood than the rest of our teeth.

Most Wisdom Teeth Finish Developing by Age 30

That’s right…your wisdom teeth may begin developing in your early teenage years, but for some people they don’t stop growing until they’re almost 30 years old. That means even if you make it through your college years without any problems, you’re not completely off the hook.

Why do Wisdom Teeth Cause Problems?

Not all wisdom teeth are bad. The problem comes when they become infected for some reason or another. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Partial eruption
  • Difficulty keeping the tooth clean, due to its location
  • Damage to the adjacent tooth or bone
  • Cysts around the tooth
  • Impaction
  • Crowding of the other teeth, caused by pressure from the wisdom tooth
  • Gum disease
  • Discomfort

Most people see their dentist about their wisdom teeth when they start hurting. Fortunately, if regular X-rays are taken, some problems can be prevented before they have a chance to develop. For instance, a wisdom tooth that is impacted against the next tooth could cause loss of that tooth. Or if the tooth is coming in at an angle and will only partially erupt, it will eventually develop tooth decay and bone loss. Taking the tooth out before this has a chance to happen will preserve the other teeth and prevent discomfort.

It Doesn’t Have to be a Huge Ordeal

You’ve probably heard about horror stories when it comes to people getting their wisdom teeth out. Believe it or not, most of the time it isn’t. Most people experience some mild discomfort during the initial recovery, but otherwise don’t have any problems at all. Your dentist knows that comfort is one of your biggest concerns; so don’t feel self-conscious if you want to discuss options like sedation or pain relief.

Have you seen your wisdom teeth lately?

If you haven’t, ask your dentist whether or not you’re due for a panoramic film. These X-rays will capture an image of all of your wisdom teeth, as well as your sinuses and TMJ for an overall well-check when it comes to your smile.

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