Your children might be getting older now, no longer toddlers – they’re losing their baby teeth! Now they proudly sport wonderful gappy smiles, and the occasional adult tooth has started appearing. You’ve been careful with the advice from your Epping Dentist about teeth cleaning and diet, and that stage of your children’s childhood seems to be going fine.
But you wonder how long it will go on for. And what’s the wisdom teeth story all about?
During childhood, your child will acquire four incisor teeth in the front middle of each jaw (eight in total) and a pair of canine teeth flanking those incisors (four in all). Beyond that, they will grow two premolar teeth (eight in all), and finally, by about the age of 13, they will get their first and second molars (eight in all) – the large flat teeth at the back ideal for grinding food.
That makes a total of 28 teeth, which sounds a lot when you look at the size of your young child’s mouth. However, it happens slowly over time and during that time, your child’s mouth and jaw become much bigger.
But even then, your child’s tooth growing is not over! And this is the part for the wisdom teeth story. The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt at the back of the mouth behind the second molars, but it won’t happen until your child is about 20 years old. By then, their jaw will be even bigger than before – and they will have experienced enough of life to be wiser than previously. After all, in previous times people were fully-fledged adults by that age, working and supporting their own families.
You can see how regular Epping Dentist visits allow us to keep an eye on the eruption of all your child’s teeth.
The thing about wisdom teeth is that modern human jaws are not as large as they used to be. Some people do not have enough room for their wisdom teeth to erupt properly. And some people do not produce wisdom teeth at all.
If the jaw is not large enough, an erupting wisdom tooth becomes impacted, i.e., stuck. This can happen wholly within the jawbone or when the tooth has partially erupted. The angle the impacted tooth is sitting at is significant too. If it is not coming out straight, it can put pressure on and damage the adjacent molar. Long term, impaction can be very painful and cause misalignment of the person’s bite. Difficulty in cleaning a partially erupted impacted tooth makes it prone to infection.
Because of these various issues, wisdom teeth are often extracted. Regular monitoring by your Epping Dentist throughout your child’s teenage years, will ensure you have the best advice, so you know what (if anything) and when something is best done.
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