Having your wisdom teeth come in can be an incredibly painful experience. Not only do these third molars cause overcrowding in your mouth, but they often grow at an awkward angle in comparison to your normal teeth. This means that as they continue to grow, they can place significant pressure on your other teeth, resulting in discomfort and even serious dental issues.
Having your wisdom teeth come in is very common, with around five million Americans needing theirs removed each year. Knowing the signs of your wisdom teeth coming in can help you to quickly identify when to visit your dentist, reducing the pain and discomfort you feel.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in your mouth, which are the toughest and largest teeth in your mouth and are designed to break down and grind food. Your wisdom teeth will grow at the back of your mouth and can appear on the top and bottom gums. Typically, they will erupt between your late teens and early twenties, when you are considered ‘wiser’ compared to the age your adult teeth arrived, giving them their name. Although they are most commonly appearing when you are younger, they can erupt at any age.
The vast majority of wisdom teeth will grow at a sideways angle, meaning they will only partially erupt through the gum. Sometimes, they might grow at such an angle that they do not actually break through the gum line, which is known as impacted wisdom teeth. This is a very serious dental issue and can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, alongside gum disease and cysts.
Despite their name, wisdom teeth have no correlation with intelligence, and they are an internal relic from the time when our diets would have consisted of more roots and raw meats. These food items required more crushing and tearing to break down, which was the role of our wisdom teeth. As our diets began to change, our bodies began to adapt, and our jaw became smaller, eliminating the need for these teeth.
What are the most common signs your wisdom teeth are coming in?
Not everyone will require surgery or treatment; in fact, research has shown that not everyone will have wisdom teeth, but in the vast majority of cases, there is at least one. If you are worried that your wisdom teeth might be coming through, we have looked at five of the most common signs to look out for:
When your wisdom teeth start coming through, one of the first signs that you will notice is irritation in your gums. This will likely start off as a minor discomfort to begin with as they start to push through the gum.
This irritation will increase the closer that the teeth get to your gumline. Alongside the irritation, you might also notice that you have some swelling around the gums, particularly in the area around your second molars.
Aches and Pains
Alongside irritation to your gums, another very common sign that your wisdom teeth might be coming through is finding that you have a dull ache in your jaw. As these teeth push through, they impact your other molars, which can create constant pressure and lead to continuous pain.
This pain will typically be located toward the back of your jaw, and the longer it is left unchecked, the more pronounced and painful it will become.
Discomfort around the body
Although the discomfort will be typically centered around your jaw and teeth, it is not uncommon to find that you will notice pain elsewhere. As your wisdom teeth push through, they can impact the nerves around your mouth, resulting in significant pain around your eyes, ears, and jaw.
Another very common indication that your wisdom teeth might be coming through is noticing that your gums have changed color. As they push nearer the surface of your gums, you may find that they turn a shade of red or dark pink, particularly as they begin to near eruption.
Small White Specks
Finally, if your wisdom teeth are beginning to push through and erupt through your gums, then you will also notice that some small white specks are appearing around your back molars. These white specks are actually the top of your wisdom teeth, indicating that they are beginning to break through the gums.
What should you do if your wisdom teeth are coming in?
If you have noticed any of these signs that your wisdom teeth are coming through, then you should speak to your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to thoroughly examine your mouth and conduct an X-ray to establish the angle that your wisdom teeth are growing in at.
If they have grown upright and in a functional position, then you will likely not need to worry about having any extraction as they will not cause any pain. However, should they be impacted, then you will probably be experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort, as well as being at risk of more serious complicated dental issues. In this instance, you will likely need to undergo a wisdom tooth extraction.
Having your wisdom teeth removed can seem a daunting prospect, but it is nothing that you need to worry about. This is a straightforward surgical procedure that will see your dentist remove the teeth. First, they will put you under anesthetic, either local or sedation, depending on the level of the procedure required. They will then make an incision in your gums to expose the tooth and bone, dividing it into sections to ensure a smoother removal process. They will then clean the area and stitch it closed if required.
After the anesthesia wears off, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort as well as swelling and bruising. You should avoid any hard food or caffeinated beverages for the first 24 hours, before moving on to softer foods. You should also avoid brushing your teeth and using mouthwash for the first 24 hours, as this can irritate the wound and prolong the recovery time.
Noticing pain and discomfort in the back of your gums can be a worrying moment, but the earlier you are able to identify that it is your wisdom teeth coming through, the sooner you will be able to get the treatment you need.
If you suspect that your wisdom teeth are beginning to erupt, then speak to your dentist as soon as possible, who will be able to help you.