FAQ: Wisdom Teeth

Many people have horror stories about what happened with their wisdom teeth, and a lot of people who don’t otherwise have dental anxiety are afraid of them. Luckily, the dental professionals at Arroyo Center for Aesthetic Dentistry in Washington, DC are here to help alleviate some of that anxiety by answering a few frequently-asked questions about wisdom teeth.

1. THEY HAVE A FORMAL NAME

Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17-25, which is why they’re referred to as “wisdom” teeth. The saying goes that this is when people start leaving the home to search for wisdom, so that’s why the teeth are named for this period in life. Who knows?

They are clinically referred to as “third molars” because they are very similar to the first two sets of molars that develop in childhood and adolescence. You might remember a little bit of discomfort in middle school when your second set of molars was positioning itself. The process involved in the third set of molars is the same, but this time there’s less room for them to move around.

2. NOT EVERYONE HAS THEM

There are some lucky people who were born without wisdom teeth! Your dentist can see them on a dental X-ray, and if there’s no sign of them below the gum line by your mid-twenties, they may never come in at all. The X-ray may also be able to help your dentist predict how they will erupt.

In some cases, however, the wisdom teeth can erupt many years beyond young adulthood. Next time you visit the Arroyo Center for Aesthetic Dentistry, ask if your wisdom teeth are still waiting to come out or if you could have been born without them. You may be surprised!

3. THEY DON’T ALWAYS COME IN AT THE SAME TIME

Wisdom teeth don’t always erupt at the same time. In fact, all four may erupt together, but it’s also possible for the top row to erupt before the bottom, or vice versa, or even for one set to come in while the other doesn’t!

Not all four will definitely cause problems, either. Those horror stories you may have heard have to do with the teeth not having enough room to maneuver in the back of the mouth and becoming impacted, but this isn’t characteristic of all wisdom teeth cases.

The best thing to do if you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth is to consult with the team at the Arroyo Center for Aesthetic Dentistry, where we’ll discuss your concerns and recommend the most conservative treatment possible. Call 202.525.6913 or schedule an appointment online today!