What Age Will Wisdom Teeth Start to Form?
Wisdom teeth are an evolutionary leftover from our caveman days when eating required more strength and our mouths were bigger. Eventually, we may evolve to have no wisdom teeth, but for now, many people need to have them removed. Dr. Sheena performs wisdom tooth check-ups and extractions at Byers Station Dental for patients near Chester Springs, Byers, Ludwigs Corner, Eagle, Lionville, and Exton, PA.
Keep reading to find out when wisdom teeth typically come in and the age when they're customarily removed.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow far in the back of the mouth. Because our mouths have grown smaller over the millennia, most of us don't have enough room for them to grow in properly. When wisdom teeth grow in at an awkward angle, they can get impacted and cause pain, infection, or shifting of the other teeth. This is why most people get wisdom tooth extractions as soon as they come in.
Small children don't have wisdom teeth – their name is derived from the wisdom that comes with age since they are typically an adult phenomenon.
What age do wisdom teeth come in?
Wisdom teeth begin to appear under the gums between the ages of 7 – 10 years old. But they take years to develop and aren't generally extracted until much later when they're about to erupt through the gums.
It can take a decade for wisdom teeth to calcify and develop roots. So, while people may be in elementary school when wisdom teeth start growing, patients don't typically need an extraction until they start to (or threaten to) cause problems in the late teen years or early 20s.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a preventive measure. There's no need to wait for painful tooth eruptions to get them removed. However, they do need to be fully developed.
What are the signs of wisdom teeth that need to be removed?
Most dentists recommend the removal of wisdom teeth before their eruption through the gums.
Signs of eruption (or your wisdom teeth "coming in") include:
- Pain or dull aching of the jaw that becomes sharper as time goes on
- White bumps behind second molars
- Swelling and/or gum irritation behind the second molars
- Redness on the area above the wisdom teeth
- Pain around the jaw, ears, and eyes due to pressure wisdom teeth put on facial nerves
Parents can ask their child's dentist to monitor the growth of their wisdom teeth at each annual appointment. In many cases, they may turn 18 before they need a wisdom tooth extraction, but Dr. Sheena can talk to them about what to watch out for and the next steps they can take when the time comes.
While it's rare, some people's wisdom teeth come in without a problem and do not cause overcrowding. Patients have a choice about if or when to remove them in those cases.
Get treatment for wisdom teeth in Chester Springs, PA
At Byers Station Dental, Dr. Sheena can give patients and parents the information they need to make an informed decision about wisdom tooth extraction. While it's recommended that they be removed before eruption to avoid pain, infection, and damage to the teeth, Dr. Sheena can use x-rays to chart the progress of the teeth.
Byers Station Dental is a family practice offering full-service treatment to residents in the Chester Springs, Byers, Ludwigs Corner, Eagle, Lionville, and Exton, PA communities. If you live in the area and need a tooth extraction or advice on wisdom teeth, simply schedule an appointment with Dr. Sheena.