Many people have horror stories about what happened when their wisdom teeth grew in, and a lot of people who don’t otherwise have dental anxiety are afraid of them. Luckily, Dr. Brent Engelberg and the dental professionals at AH Smiles in the Arlington Heights/Chicago, IL area are here to help alleviate some of those fears by answering a few frequently-asked questions about wisdom teeth.
1. They Have A Formal Name
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17-25, which is why they’re called “wisdom” teeth. It is believed they got this common name because the age they typically emerge is when people start leaving the home to search for wisdom. Who knows?
The proper name for wisdom teeth is “third molars” because of their resemblance to the first two sets of molars that develop in childhood and adolescence. You might recall a little bit of discomfort in middle school when your second set of molars was positioning itself in the rear of your mouth. The process involved in the third set of molars is the same, but this time there’s less room for them to move around as they grow in.
2. Not Everyone Has Them
There are some lucky individuals who were born without wisdom teeth! Your dentist can see them on a dental X-ray before they even start to come in, and if there’s no sign of them below the gum line by your mid-twenties, they may never come in at all. The X-ray may also be able to help your dentist predict how they will erupt.
In some cases, however, the wisdom teeth may take many years beyond young adulthood to emerge. Next time you visit Dr. Engelberg or your area dentist, ask if your wisdom teeth are still waiting to come out or if you could have been born without them. You may be surprised what you learn!
3. They Don’t Always Come In At the Same Time
Wisdom teeth don’t always grow in all at the same time. In fact, all four may erupt relatively close together, but it’s also possible for the top row to erupt before the bottom, or vice versa, or even for one set not to come in at all!
Not all four will definitely cause you problems, either. Those horror stories you may have heard mostly have to do with wisdom teeth not having enough room to maneuver in the back of the mouth and becoming impacted– which is when an emerging tooth collides with an existing one. However, this isn’t characteristic of all wisdom teeth cases.
The best thing to do if you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth is to consult with your area dentist or, if you’re in the Arlington Heights/Chicago, IL area, the team at AH Smiles, where we’ll discuss your concerns and recommend the most conservative treatment possible. Call (847) 230-9703 or schedule an appointment online today!