The Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Coming In

Wisdom teeth can be a painful problem, and the sooner you treat problematic ones the better and eassier it can be. Not sure what signs to look out for? Keep reading to learn more about wisdom teeth and what to do when they begin to erupt and or cause problems.


What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the four number "8" teeth tucked behind the second permanent molars. So why do we have wisdom teeth in the first place, if they often don't help? One theory is that early in our evolution we were eating unrefined foods, such as uncooked meat and plants, which were more abrasive than the foods we eat today. These abrasive foods would wear down our teeth much faster, creating narrower teeth which allowed space for wisdom teeth to erupt correctly.

Another theory is that our jaws were bigger because our chewing muscles were bigger. The foods we ate required more strength to chew, so our muscles grew bigger and stronger. The bigger muscles and bigger jaw bones made space for wisdom teeth to grow as they should. Nowadays, we enjoy a much softer diet, and our mouths often simply don't have enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt properly.


Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Growth

Not sure if your wisdom teeth are coming in? Watch out for these signs around or behind the back teeth:

  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Tender to the touch
  • Pus
  • Swelling of the gum and soft tissues
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Visible signs of tooth erupting into the mouth
  • Food impacting


If you notice any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your dentist. Wisdom teeth erupt through the gums, otherwise known as teething. Partially erupted (Not fully through) teeth can be food traps. Food trapping and bacteril breeding in the inflamed tissues can lead to infection. The symptoms for this are, bad breath, a foul taste, throbbing, swelling, or a dull pressure in the mouth. An infection around a wisdom tooth is called pericoronitis and can be treated by the dentist. Of course some wisdom teeth erupt with no symptoms or problems at all.


Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth

When there isn't enough room in the mouth, wisdom teeth can become stuck, or impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth lie at an angle or on their side or straight up. They can press up against the tooth in front, trapping food and causing decay and cavity formation in the tooth in front. Some dentists also say that impacted wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding, which can lead to improper bite alignment of teeth further forwards.


Extracting Wisdom Teeth

Most people can get their wisdom teeth removed as a routine procedure, however impacted wisdom teeth may require a more complicated extraction process. Visit your dentist to have your wisdom teeth assessed. This will involve:

  1. A visual examination of your mouth and the problem areas
  2. An x-ray - either a small intra-oral x-ray or an OPG/panorex x-ray
  3. Booking an appointment to remove the wisdom teeth, or a referral to an oral surgeon if the extraction looks tricky


It is recommended that wisdom teeth be extracted at a younger age, but they can be removed at any age. To enquire about wisdom teeth removal, teeth whiteningteeth implants and more, contact our dentist in West Auckland.

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