Do you know why wisdom tooth is called such? That's because wisdom teeth, which are the upper and lower third molars situated at the back of the mouth, appear during the age 21 and older - the time when you're old enough to have "wisdom". Most of the time, they are positioned properly so they don't bring any problems.
When does the problem happen?
Problem occurs when the wisdom tooth becomes crooked or when it grows in the wrong direction. It's also problematic if the tooth growing breaks a part of the gum that causes a flap of tissue to trap food, becoming infected over time. For people who have jaws that are not large enough to accommodate the growing wisdom teeth, the wisdom tooth as well as the rest may become impacted. Wisdom teeth may also not be able to break through the gums. In that case, the teeth in the back part of the mouth become crowded and difficult to clean. This may lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
How do you know if you're having problems?
If you don't experience any symptom, that means that your wisdom tooth is growing normally. But if you feel pain or stiffness in the jaw, particularly in the area near the impacted tooth, this indicates that the tooth needs to be extracted. Other related symptoms include pain or irritation on the inside of the cheek or the top or bottom of the mouth, infected swelling the gum tissue flap, crowding of teeth, tooth decay and gum disease.
How is the problem diagnosed?
Your teeth will be examined by your dentist who will look for signs of wisdom tooth breaking in through the gums or crowding of the teeth at the back part of the mouth. In some cases, X-rays are used to see if the wisdom tooth is causing or will cause problems.
How is this treated?
The primary method of treatment is extraction of the tooth. But remember that this is only for wisdom teeth that are causing problems. If your wisdom tooth grows healthily inside your mouth without bringing pain or discomfort, tooth removal is not necessary. Tooth extraction is done more easily on younger people, those who are in their early 20s. That's because the roots of their teeth as well as their jawbone are not yet fully developed. This makes healing easier and quicker than those who are in their late 20s and above.
If you suspect that your wisdom tooth is going to grow any time soon, it would be a good idea to pay your dentist a visit. This way, as early as now, he/she can advise you on what to do in case the tooth is bound to give you problems in the future. This would enable you to prepare yourself for the woes that a wisdom tooth may bestow on you.