How to know if your wisdom teeth are coming in

The Teeth is made up of several parts. The part of the tooth that is seen above the gum is called the crown. This is covered in hard, shiny enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and protects the more sensitive inner parts of the tooth. vary in size, shape and their location in the jaws. These differences enable teeth to work together to help in chewing, speaking and smiling. They also help to give the face its shape and form. At birth people usually have 20 baby (primary) teeth, which start to come in (erupt) at about 6 months of age. They fall out (shed) at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.

The term ‘wisdom teeth’ has been used loosely in several quarters, especially among teenagers and young adults. Contrary to their name, wisdom teeth do not make one smarter or wiser. They are called that because they usually come in when a person is older, around ages 17 to 21. These teeth are in the very back of the mouth.

When and in what pattern does the tooth erupt?

The exact time a tooth erupts varies for different individuals and depends also on factors like genes, nutrition, and environment at times. However, teeth generally erupt in a predictable pattern in human beings. The first teeth begin to break through the gums at about 6 months of age. Usually, the first two teeth to erupt are the two bottom central incisors (the two bottom front teeth), followed by the top four front teeth. After that, other teeth slowly begin to fill in, usually in pairs; one each side of the upper or lower jaw until all 20 teeth (10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw) have come in by the time the child is 2 ½ to 3 years old. The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age.

When does the temporary tooth fall?

These teeth typically begin to loosen and fall out to make room for permanent teeth at about age 6. However, sometimes this can be delayed by as much as a year. The first baby teeth to fall out are typically the two bottom front teeth and the two top front teeth (upper central incisors), followed by the side teeth (lateral incisors), first molars, canines and second molars. The baby teeth usually stay in place until they are pushed out by permanent teeth. By the age of 12 to 14, most children have lost all their baby teeth and have their adult teeth.

When does the primary tooth begin to erupt?

The permanent tooth usually start eruption from 6 years of age and by the age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted. Although permanent teeth eruption is under significant genetic control, various general factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, craniofacial morphology, body composition can influence this process. However, the pattern of teeth eruption is largely the same, starting from the upper and lower molars just behind the last primary teeth at the back of the mouth. The permanent molars are referred to by their anticipated age of eruption. The first molars are called the six-year molars, and the second molars are referred to as the twelve-year molars.  Between the ages of 6 and 7, the lower permanent front teeth erupt with the upper ones following at ages 7 through 9. The last permanent tooth to erupt is the third molar which is called the wisdom tooth. Even though this usually happens around the ages of 17 to 21 years, it can also occur much later in some adults. The wisdom teeth are the last 4 adult teeth to erupt.

How to know if your wisdom teeth are coming in

In general, wisdom teeth serve no specific purpose, other than being an additional pair of molars on each side of the mouth to aid in grinding food. Because of their delayed arrival, there may not be space sometimes for the wisdom tooth as it prepares to erupt which can also cause some symptoms.

The arrival of the wisdom tooth is often associated with some tell-tale symptoms which are:

  • Tender and Swollen Gum Tissue: One of the first signs of the arrival of the wisdom teeth coming in is when there is tenderness or discomfort around the back of the mouth. This can be on either side or just one. There may be accompanied red, swollen gums.
  • Sometimes there is pain in the area where the wisdom teeth are coming. This can be intense and can radiate toward the eyes, ears or head might be a sign of infection
  • There may be Jaw pain or pain localized at the back of the mouth.
  • Throbbing or pressure in your gums at the very back of your mouth.
  • Triggered Headaches
  • Infection in the gums: The erupted wisdom teeth can often be awkwardly positioned, which causes only part of the tooth to emerge. This leaves the gum tissue very susceptible to food particles lodging there leading to active infections.
  • Irritation Around the Gums
  • The wisdom teeth often force their way through making space for themselves causing a sore mouth which sometimes, it even becomes difficult to open and close the mouth.
  • The impacted or trapped wisdom tooth can also cause issues like bad breath due to gum infection caused by bacteria lodging in pockets around the gums and teeth that are difficult to clean.
  • There may be some accidental biting of the cheek or tongue as wisdom teeth move the other teeth aside so slowly that their presence may not be noticed until the individual bites down on the tongue and the inside of the cheek repeatedly.
  • Sometimes the wisdom teeth can be visible if one carefully looks with a mirror.

What are the wisdom tooth problems?

Wisdom tooth arrival can cause some problems sometimes. These problems usually occur if:

  • The wisdom teeth break through the 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 come in crooked or facing the wrong direction.
  • The jaw is not large enough to give them room. Your wisdom teeth may get stuck (impacted) in the jaw and not be able to break through your gums.
  • The wisdom tooth is so far back in the mouth or crowded that there will be trouble cleaning around them.
  • A cyst forms. This can damage the bone or roots.

If you are between the ages of 17 to 25 years or even older and have such symptoms, visit your dentist, it just may be a wisdom tooth struggling to make its presence known!

Also, if you experience these symptoms, see your dentist who will carry out tests and x-rays to determine the best course of treatment. This may require an extraction of the offending tooth to give relief of symptoms.