The Basics About Your Child’s Wisdom Teeth

Most children start losing their baby teeth at six or seven years old. The final molars in the back of the mouth (known as wisdom teeth) generally fully develop in a person's later teen years. As your baby is gaining wisdom and wisdom teeth, you will want to know about these teeth and when to extract them. 

Evolution of Wisdom Teeth

Over the years, our mouths have evolved to be a smaller size. Many scientists believe that our mouths were larger years ago, and we used our wisdom teeth before to help us eat a diet of very rough foods. Nowadays, our smaller mouths typically can't accommodate these excess teeth. If the mouth can't fit these extra wisdom teeth, it can cause problems for the other teeth. This may not be the case for every person, though. Many people don't develop all four of their wisdom teeth. In fact, 25% of people are missing one or more of their wisdom teeth. In other people, the teeth grow in perfectly. If your child does have wisdom teeth, talk to your kid dentist to determine how they are growing in.  

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth that have not had the opportunity to fully emerge. There are four different types ways that impacted teeth grow:

  • Mesial- Mesial impacted wisdom teeth grew in angled toward the front of the mouth. 
  • Vertical- Vertical impacted teeth grew normally, but they still didn't get the opportunity to fully develop. 
  • Horizontal- Horizontal impacted teeth grew to the side. 
  • Distal- Distal impacted teeth grew in angled toward the back of the mouth. 

Impacted teeth have three different levels of development:

  • soft tissue- The crown (top) of the tooth has made its way through the bone but not through the gum tissue
  • full-bony- The entire tooth is beneath the gum tissue
  • partial-bony- Part of the tooth has penetrated the gum tissue. 

Does My Child Need Their Teeth Removed?

There are a number of signs that your child should get their wisdom teeth removed. 

1. Does your child's x-rays indicate that the emerging wisdom teeth will present a problem? X-rays provide a great opportunity to look into the future of your teeth. 

2. Is your child complaining of pain in the back of their mouth? 

3. Are you concerned about the potential of complications in the future? Remember that 85% of people get their wisdom teeth removed. Many people do it as a precaution before they have to worry about more serious and expensive dental work in the future. 

4. Are the teeth impacted? All impacted teeth are candidates for removal because they leave the opportunity for bacteria and disease to enter the mouth. This leaves the mouth vulnerable to gum disease, and it can create cavities in other teeth.