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Children Check-ups Throughout Their Ages – Part 5 – 18 years old – Lower Wisdom Teeth

April 13, 2021

“The getting of wisdom” … maybe, but “The getting of wisdom teeth” is variable and sometimes not necessary.

The third molars usually come through at 18 years but they can vary from 16 years to the early 20’s. Often symptoms of the these teeth coming through, or erupting, are pressure on the adjacent teeth, headaches, sore muscles, food trap, difficulty opening the opening, sore throats, and even swellings. 

They may not even exist in some people. However, often they are there but there isn’t enough room to enter the mouth at all. When this happens they are impacted. 

Operculum covering impacted wisdom tooth

Impacted teeth may remain within the bone or be completely covered by gum and not communicate with the mouth. Once the gum breaks down, even a small amount, bacteria can come into the space between the gum and the impacted wisdom tooth. Why? The gum does not adhere to the enamel of the tooth. So the gum (or operculum) gets irritated from the bacteria underneath, and that’s what causes pain and swelling. Removing the tooth removes the space and therefore a bacteria and food trap as well.

OPG of impacted lower third molars near the mandibular nerve and upper molars unerupted

In the lower jaw the mandibular nerve canal, seen as two parallel lines running under the back teeth. The wisdom tooth roots sometime lie near or within the canal.

Warning – this may be a problem with the removal of the wisdom tooth as the nerve may get damaged. A branch of this nerve goes to the lower lip and chin as well as the teeth. So numbness may occur for a period of time.

Please note:

  • The bone in the lower jaw is tougher than the upper jaw
  • The older you are the denser the bone becomes
  • Taking out wisdom teeth does not straighten your teeth
  • A specialist may be required with a further CT scan to check the position of the lower tooth and the mandibular nerve
  • Teeth can be removed under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic and sedation
  • It depends on each person’s situation, whether they need to be removed. Are we doing more harm than good?
Traumatic bite on a wisdom tooth that needs to be removed

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Next week

Children Check-ups Throughout Their Ages – Part 6 – 18 years old – Upper Wisdom Teeth