The mouth of an average person is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful to fit 32 teeth in a mouth that can only hold 28 teeth.
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often, they are misaligned and require removal.
Wisdom teeth present potential problems when they are misaligned – they can position themselves horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars or be angled inward or outward.
Here are the types of wisdom teeth, in order from easiest to remove to most complex to remove:
- Erupted (already in the mouth)
- Soft-tissue impacted (just under the gum)
- Partial-bony impacted (partially stuck in the jaw)
- Full-bony impacted (completely stuck in the jaw)
In addition, if your wisdom teeth are tilted sideways, they can be harder to remove than if they are vertical.
While healthy wisdom teeth don’t usually cause a tremendous amount of pain, they can be bothersome. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help stop your wisdom tooth pain.
- Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom tooth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.
- After your wisdom tooth have emerged completely, your pain should stop. If it doesn’t, consult your dentist.
- For some people there is not enough room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to come in and this can result in teeth drifting and crooked teeth
- Call your dentist immediately if you find it difficult to close your mouth completely or if you are unable to touch the affected area without experiencing severe pain.