Given the name “wisdom teeth” because of the older age at which they come through, some people are fortunate enough to be able to keep them. Not everyone is so lucky as to have a combination of ample room in the mouth and teeth that formed and erupted properly. Of course, problems with wisdom teeth don’t always wait to make themselves known, which may have you wondering whether or not your child’s wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
No Room in the Inn
As time has passed and generations have come and gone, the human skull has changed. One of those changes is that the jaw has become smaller in the general population. This is a matter of genetics, one that can lead to overcrowding. In some cases there may not be enough room for the teeth your child already has, let alone four more molars in the back (one in each quadrant, of course). If there isn’t enough room in your child’s mouth for their wisdom teeth to fit properly with the rest, they’ll need to be extracted.
Clean Up, Clean Up… Or Not
By the time your child’s wisdom teeth become a relevant part of a dental checkup, he or she should already have a pretty good handle on the basics of oral hygiene. The thing is, adding the wisdom teeth into the mix can really throw a wrench into their ability to effectively clean their teeth. Wisdom teeth can be hard to get to for them to be cleaned properly. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space to thoroughly brush and floss, making it easier for plaque and cavities to develop. If that’s the case, your child will likely be better off without them.
Brace for Impact(ion)
Sometimes wisdom teeth just don’t grow properly and in the right direction. Impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth that aren’t growing straight. Sometimes this means they grow at a diagonal, while in other instances they may be growing horizontally instead of vertically. This can cause serious problems, including the formation of painful cysts and tumours in the jawbone. It can also cause inflammation, infection, and damage to nearby teeth. If your child’s wisdom teeth are impacted, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll need to be extracted.
Whether some or all of someone’s wisdom teeth need to be extracted depends on a few different factors which can be unique to the individual. Just because you had yours pulled is no guarantee that your child’s will be. The reverse is true as well. There are a few indicators that suggest that there is a high likelihood of them needing to be removed that you can watch out for though. Be sure to ask a dentist if you have any questions about your child’s wisdom teeth.
Read this next: 3 Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth.