Wisdom Teeth – Coming of Age May Come With a Dilemma

For some, it is said, wisdom comes with age; for others, age comes by itself. Yet there’s one thing almost everyone can count on when they reach adulthood: the arrival of the third molars, commonly known as “wisdom teeth”.  This set of teeth (generally four, but sometimes more or less) most often appears between the ages of 18 and 24 years.  They are the farthest back in the jaw and the last to come in, completing the process of dental development that began in infancy.

Unfortunately, the appearance of wisdom teeth may be accompanied by dental problems.  Trouble is more likely to occur when the teeth are impacted – that is, they are developing in a way that makes it impossible for them to erupt (emerge from under the gums) and take their expected places in the jaw without affecting nearby healthy teeth.  Impacted teeth generally result from from one or more of the following: a lack of sufficient space in the jaw (crowding); an obstruction (such as another tooth in the way); or an abnormal  position in the mouth.  It’s not certain how many people are affected by this issue, but one recent study showed that 7 our of 10 people in their twenties had at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

Frequently, the solution to potential problems with impacted wisdom teeth is removal (extraction) – even before symptoms are noticed.  In fact, this is a very common procedure for many dentists.  Yet many people have questions about when – or if – this surgical procedure is needed.  For example, if a wisdom tooth isn’t causing pain or disease now but might create problems later, should it be removed as a preventive measure?

Pike District Smiles should be your first call for wisdom teeth information in North Bethesda, Maryland.  Contact us today to learn more and schedule your comfortable and convenient appointment.