Wisdom teeth are notorious for causing crowding and alignment issues in your mouth. For this reason, many people have them removed before they erupt to avoid future problems. Read on to learn about wisdom teeth and when your child should have them removed.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the “third molars” at each back corner of the mouth. You can have anywhere from zero to four of these teeth, and they generally erupt through the gums when a person is between 17 and 25 years old. Most scientists believe wisdom teeth were needed for our ancestors’ coarser diets, which consisted of rough foods like roots and nuts, that required more chewing and grinding power.
Why Can Wisdom Teeth Be Problematic?
Some people never need their third molars removed because they grow in straight without crowding other teeth. However, it is much more likely that they will grow in at an awkward angle. Misaligned and overcrowded teeth are difficult to keep clean. This increases your risk of bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Other times, wisdom teeth can become impacted. When teeth are impacted, or unable to fully erupt, the risk of infection and damage to neighboring tooth roots increases.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Pulled?
No crystal ball is needed to determine the correct time to remove a patient’s third molars. Here at Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we take an individualized approach and consider a patient’s unique needs, their digital dental X-rays, and our visual examination of their mouth. We take several factors into account, such as a patient’s oral health and the alignment and spacing of their existing teeth. If we believe that your child’s wisdom teeth will come in improperly, we usually decide that it’s best to remove them before they erupt, often in a patient’s late teenage years. This reduces the risk of infection, damage, and pain in the long run.
Consult with Our Expert Team!
Wondering if it’s time to have your child’s wisdom teeth removed? Our team is here to help. Ask us all your dental-related questions and schedule your child’s next appointment by contacting us today.