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ASK THE DENTIST: Wisdom Tooth Woes

These tricky teeth come with a world of pain and zero wisdom; so be sure to nip them quickly in the bud if and when they erupt.

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are thought to have been bequeathed to us by our Stone Age ancestors whose larger jawbones could accommodate 32 teeth; any gaps in between were then filled with additional chompers.

Centuries of evolution later, our jaws have shrunk but our wisdom teeth remain.

 

WHEN DO WISDOM TEETH ERUPT?

Wisdom teeth usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 21, but are sometimes visible on the x-of adolescents from just 14 years. A person usually has four wisdom teeth, but some never get them.

 

OH, BOTHER!

Wisdom teeth often don’t properly erupt and can grow sideways, emerge part-way out of the gum, or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone, leading to gum infection and cyst formation around the impacted tooth. This can permanently damage the jaw, adjacent teeth and nerves. An impacted tooth can become decayed, causing periodontal disease and decay in the adjacent tooth. Wisdom teeth that do erupt properly may be tight in the back of your mouth, making it hard to clean, leading to tooth decay.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Your dentist may advise extraction, which is easier to conduct when you are younger. The likelihood of you needing treatment for pain and infection prior to wisdom teeth removal increases with age. Researchers have found patients above 30 years may be at greater risk for disease, including periodontitis, in the tissues surrounding the third molars and adjacent teeth. So don’t wait until your wisdom teeth cause trouble to seek help. Your dentist will be able to discuss the procedure with you before you make a decision.

Smilefocus
1 Orchard Boulevard, #08-02 & #14-02 Camden Medical Centre, Singapore 248649
Tel: 6834 0877

Cosmetic Dentistry Tel: 6733 9882
Family Dentistry, Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry Tel: 6834 0877
Implant & Restorative Dentistry Tel: 6733 9882

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