Wisdom teeth: Here’s what you should know

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AMMAN — Wisdom teeth, medically known as third molars, can be a nuisance and sources of intense pain.

Your mouth may have up to four wisdom teeth, one at each back corner. Most people can expect their wisdom teeth to emerge between the ages of 17 to 21. اضافة اعلان

A dental X-ray can reveal whether you have third molars. Not having any wisdom teeth might come as a surprise and lead you to think there is something wrong with your oral health. But the reality is, it is perfectly okay not to have them.

It is estimated that anywhere from five to 37 percent of people are missing one or more of their third molars. The reason is unknown, but studies suggest that this could be owed to genetics. So, if one of your parents does not have wisdom teeth, there could be a chance that you do not have them as well.

Of course, there is no rule that says you must remove a wisdom tooth that emerges — especially if you have space in your mouth. Yet, some people still choose to remove these morals to avoid complications down the road. Others do not seek removal until they experience pain.

So, when should you worry about your third molars?

Wisdom teeth that are healthy and in the right position are usually not a cause for concern. You may have a problem if any of the following occurs:

Your wisdom teeth break through your gums only partway because of a lack of space. This can cause a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. The flap can trap food and lead to a gum infection.

They emerge crooked or facing the wrong direction.

 Your jaw isn't large enough to give them room. Your wisdom teeth may get stuck (impacted) in your jaw and not be able to break through your gums.

They are so far back in your mouth or crowded that you have trouble cleaning around them.

A cyst forms. This can damage the bone or roots.

What symptoms do they cause?

If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

Pain or jaw stiffness near an impacted tooth.

Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing  against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of your mouth.

An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth that has broken partway through the gum.

Crowding of other teeth.

 Tooth decay or gum disease if there isn't enough room for you to properly clean your wisdom tooth and nearby teeth.

Most problems regarding wisdom teeth affect people between the ages of 15 and 25. People older than 30 usually do not have problems that require their wisdom teeth to be removed.

How are they treated?

Wisdom teeth that cause problems should be removed or extracted. This can be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.

The dentist or surgeon opens the gum tissue over the tooth if needed and removes the tooth. Sometimes, a tooth will be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to take out. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.
If you have an infection, you may need to wait until it is gone before you have your wisdom teeth removed. The dentist or surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.

Should wisdom teeth be taken out if they aren't causing problems?

Have your dentist check your wisdom teeth if you're 16 to 19 years old. 

Some dentists and oral surgeons believe it is best to remove wisdom teeth before a person is 20 years old. Removing them when you're older is harder to do and more likely to cause problems.

Some think it is best to wait and remove wisdom teeth only if there is a problem, especially if you are older than 30.

 Studies have not clearly shown if it is better or worse to remove wisdom teeth that aren't causing problems.

Your dentist can help you decide what is right for you.

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