How to Care for an Erupted Wisdom Tooth
An erupted tooth is one that has broken through the gums. This occurs as first our baby teeth and then our adult teeth grow in, but does not always happen correctly with wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars. Not every mouth has room for these molars, and even when they do grow in, the molars, wisdom teeth can often erupt differently. They may erupt crooked, partially, or not at all.
Wisdom teeth often begin to grow in around age 14 and may erupt soon around age 17 (though some people have wisdom teeth that grow in much later in life, even into their late 30s/early 40s). During this time, your teenager should get a dental checkup to determine if the wisdom teeth need to be extracted. But if a wisdom tooth has already erupted or it was determined that your wisdom teeth did not need to be removed, it is important to take special care to keep the erupted teeth healthy.
Challenges with Erupted Wisdom Teeth
The first challenge with erupting teeth is often minor pain, swelling, and bleeding gums as the tooth grows in. Those with impacted wisdom teeth – when there is not enough room for the molars – may also experience pressure on other teeth as the wisdom teeth erupt.
In other mouths, there is enough room but the wisdom teeth may be hard to reach or only partially erupted, meaning part of the tooth is still covered by gum tissue. A partially erupted tooth may have pockets in the gum line that is difficult to get to with brushing.
The location and potential for partial eruption makes wisdom teeth more likely to lead to:
- Trapped Food
- Bad Breath
- Gum Disease
No matter your age, if you have erupted wisdom teeth and experience bleeding gums, swelling or pain in your gums or jaw, or difficulty opening your mouth, you should see a dentist immediately. These symptoms could be a sign of an infection or another difficulty with your wisdom teeth that requires treatment to keep it from getting worse.
Caring for Wisdom Teeth
Because of their location near the back of your mouth, thoroughly cleaning erupted wisdom teeth is often more difficult than other areas in your mouth. This is especially true if the wisdom tooth is only partially erupted as you need to take special care with the surrounding gum tissue.
Those whose wisdom teeth have erupted fully or partially need to brush the visible tooth and the surrounding gums twice daily. You should also floss beneath the gum line daily. Since this area of the mouth is hard to reach, daily use of an antimicrobial mouthwash can help remove additional debris that can lead to bad breath and plaque. Regular dentist visits are also essential for checkup and cleaning.
Dental Concepts offers dental cleaning and wisdom teeth removal in Salinas, CA for those whose wisdom teeth are impacted. For patients with erupted wisdom teeth, we can also work with you on a care and monitoring plan to ensure you continue to avoid problems with your wisdom teeth. Call us to set up a checkup for you or your teen.