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When Teeth Go Sideways: A Guide to Wisdom Tooth Growth

November 17, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drcoleman @ 2:55 pm
A woman holding her jaw because of impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the late bloomers of your dental biome. They typically make their appearance in late teenage years or early adulthood. While many people undergo the normal process of wisdom teeth eruption, some experience a situation where their wisdom teeth grow sideways, requiring extraction.

But why does this happen, and what factors contribute to this dental deviation? Continue reading to find out.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Before you dive into this dental mystery, it’s a good idea to quickly review what wisdom teeth are and why they can be problematic. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically emerge at the back of the jaw.

Once upon a time, these teeth were essential for early humans who had a tougher diet that required more chewing power. However, with a modern diet and advancements in oral hygiene, these teeth often become more of a hassle than a help.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Sometimes Grow Sideways?

Now that you know what wisdom teeth are, you can delve into the curious case of why they might sometimes grow sideways. This process is known as horizontal impaction, and could be caused by:

  • Limited Space: The primary reason for a sideways wisdom tooth is a lack of adequate space in the jaw. As the third molars attempt to come in, they may encounter obstacles like neighboring teeth. This could cause them to change angles and grow into your gum instead of through it.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetics also play a role in deciding the size and shape of your jaw. patients with smaller jaw structures may find their wisdom teeth growing sideways due to less space in their mouths overall.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Your Sideways Wisdom Teeth Treated?

While some patients may not experience any issues with their sideways wisdom teeth, others may face complications such as:

  • Pain and Discomfort: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort as they put pressure on surrounding teeth and tissues.
  • Increased Risk of Infection: The partial eruption of impacted wisdom teeth can create pockets where bacteria can thrive, increasing the risk of infection and inflammation.
  • Tooth Crowding: Wisdom teeth that don’t grow correctly can put pressure on adjacent teeth. This can lead to many misalignments as your teeth turn and slip past one another to make room.

How Can You Address Improper Wisdom Tooth Growth?

If your wisdom teeth are causing discomfort or potential complications, professional intervention may be necessary. Your dentist can use X-rays and examinations to determine the best course of action, which may involve extraction to prevent further issues.

While you can’t control how your wisdom teeth form or grow, you can create a plan to deal with them if the worst should happen. Regular dental checkups are important for checking the development of wisdom teeth and addressing any concerns promptly. If you’re having trouble with your wisdom teeth, reach out to your dentist. Don’t delay!

About the Author

Dr. Jasmine King is a talented and friendly dentist who enjoys spending time with patients and helping them smile again. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry and has since then completed hundreds of hours of continuing education through multiple professional organizations. Call (817) 292-7488 to schedule an appointment at Summer Creek Dentistry or visit the website to learn more.