May 2019- Graduates and Wisdom Teeth

Ready for Graduation?  Here’s some wisdom about teeth!

Congratulations!  It’s graduation time!  This is a major milestone of you (our your child’s) life!

A major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Third molars are commonly referred to wisdom teeth.  Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature, or “wise” age.


Some Wisdom about Wisdom Teeth:


In your semi-annual (twice a year) checkups, Dr. Goodwin monitors your teeth using x-rays and by examining your teeth.  These checkups are very important during your teen and young adult years because this is the time when wisdom teeth are developing.  This is also the time when problems might occur.


As your wisdom teeth make their way through your jaw and gums, Dr. Goodwin will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following problems:

  • Wisdom teeth that haven’t come in properly. Many times, wisdom teeth come in crooked, turned, or even horizontal.  This can cause the existing teeth to crowd together.  It can also make it difficult to floss between the wisdom teeth and the molars next to them.  Food can become trapped and cavities can form in these areas.  Sometimes, wisdom teeth can damage the roots of neighboring teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that have partially come through the gums. These open areas can give bacteria a place to enter under the gums and create a place for infection to occur. The infection can lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted. Impacted teeth can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.  The cyst usually causes pain, sometimes significant pain, in the jaw or the joint of the jaw.

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Crowding of existing teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)


Dr. Goodwin may also recommend removal of wisdom teeth as part of treatment for braces, before going away to college, before going on a mission, or if it is necessary for other dental care. Before making any decisions, Dr. Goodwin will examine your mouth and take an x-ray.


Together, you and Dr. Goodwin can discuss the best course of treatment!


Final Words of Wisdom:


Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored due to the potential for developing problems can occur. As people age, they are at greater risk for health problems—and that includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are like other teeth- they are susceptible to cavities.  Be sure to brush and floss around your wisdom teeth and visit Dr. Goodwin regularly (twice a year)!

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