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What are Wisdom Teeth?

By their early teens, the average person would have 28 adult teeth. You'd find four incisors, two canines, four premolars and four molars in your upper arch and the same set in the lower arch.

Wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars and often come in when a person is around 18 years old. Because this is considered 'late' compared to all the other teeth and the child is significantly 'wiser' at this older age, they're called wisdom teeth - so the story goes.

There are two best case scenarios for wisdom teeth. The first is that they simply don't develop at all and no wisdom teeth related issues arise. The second is that the four teeth do develop, but there is sufficient jaw space to accommodate them - again, no problems arise because in this case, they fit in harmoniously with existing teeth.

For. The. Rest. Of. Us...when wisdom teeth grow in, several things can happen. In the image above, both upper and lower third molars are growing at an angle. This can create the situation where it just keeps growing and starts exerting force onto existing teeth, causing them to shift and making them crooked. Since they're growing directly into their neighbours - this can also lead to decay of those molars. As a side note, some wisdom teeth come in completely sideways and can lead to the same situations.

If these teeth are partially erupted - that is - half covered by the gumline and half exposed, it can be extremely difficult to keep these areas clean and it can lead to trapping of food particles and bacteria and cause decay in the wisdom teeth and/or infection in that area.

So, what can you do about it? Be proactive by booking yourself in for an examination (416) 226-6688. Because every person is different, the dentist needs to start by checking your mouth. They'll likely need to take a panoramic x-ray (if you don't have an updated one) and maybe photo(s) to check the status of your wisdom teeth (or - fingers crossed - lack thereof). Then, we'll project your x-ray/image(s) onto the large screen so that you can follow along as the dentist shows you what we see. We'll talk through whether or not they might pose a problem. We'll talk through what potential risks might be involved if you leave them be. We'll also talk through what removal options you should consider, if applicable.


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