What Happens to Adults With Wisdom Teeth

Woman at dentist

Most of us associate wisdom teeth with adolescence because that’s when they first show up. Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that come in between ages 17 and 25. The best thing to do is to have them removed when they first show up, but many people put this off and still have their wisdom teeth as older adults. Here’s what you should know if you’re an adult and still have your wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Can Eventually Cause Problems

Usually any problems with your wisdom teeth are detected by examining them on an x-ray when you’re still a teenager and before they become symptomatic. However, wisdom tooth pain and problems can show up out of nowhere when you’re older if you’ve put off removal.

Wisdom teeth that are partially erupted (have only come through the gums part of the way) can create a pocket between tooth and gum where bacteria can grow. This can cause infections and cysts that can keep getting worse and even spread throughout your body.

Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that haven’t erupted at all. They are still trapped beneath the gum or bone. Impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on neighboring molars and cause discomfort.

If you start having symptoms that may be caused by your wisdom teeth, it’s important to tell the dentist right away so we can examine you and discuss a treatment plan of your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Might Be More Complicated

Some people’s wisdom teeth don’t cause any problems for years. While this sounds like a good thing, it means that when and if the teeth do start having problems (such as mentioned above), the teeth have had more time to grow roots. These deeper roots run close to certain nerves, which can be damaged during wisdom tooth removal, potentially causing permanent numbness. Deeper tooth roots may also mean a longer recovery time. Typical recovery time is about 3 days in younger people, but may be longer with older wisdom teeth.

Sooner Is Better Than Later!

If you have any concerns about your wisdom teeth or have felt changes in your mouth that may be related, please talk to us sooner rather than later.