8 First signs of wisdom teeth coming in 

First signs of wisdom teeth coming in 

The wisdom teeth are the last teeth that erupt in the mouth. They emerge between the age of 17-25 years when you are gaining more wisdom and life experiences. That’s why they are known as wisdom teeth. In dentistry, they are referred to as third molars. In this article, I will describe the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in the mouth. 

The process of wisdom teeth eruption 

The tooth erupts in the mouth due to the pressure from the developing roots. The developing roots push the tooth upwards in the lower teeth and vice versa. 

The pressure from the emerging tooth resorbs the bone lying over it, allowing it to penetrate the gums. The tooth continues to erupt in the mouth unless opposed by opposing teeth.

The whole process of wisdom teeth eruption takes time. There are periods of active growth followed by dormant periods. In some people, the complete eruption of wisdom teeth may take years.  

Why do wisdom teeth erupt malpositioned in the arch or don’t erupt at all?

The eruption of wisdom teeth varies among different people. People with large jaws and more space for wisdom teeth often don’t recognize any signs or symptoms of tooth eruption. However, people with small jaws with inadequate space for the wisdom tooth experience more apparent signs and symptoms. Moreover, insufficient space may result in teeth becoming impacted or erupting towards the cheeks. According to an estimate 24% of the world’s population has no wisdom teeth. 

what are the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in

Several signs and symptoms are linked to the emergence of wisdom teeth in the mouth.

back of the mouth hurts

People with large jaws and more space for wisdom teeth often experience mild or no pain at all. However, some may experience mild to moderate discomfort during the eruption. 

Mild discomfort is felt while eating at the back of the mouth due to swollen gum pad. The inflamed and elevated gum pad continuously bitten by the opposing tooth can make your eating difficult. 

Redness of gums 

Redness of gums is the first sign you will experience during the wisdom teeth eruption. It results from inflammation of the gums from the tooth penetrating the gums. 

You can see red, swollen gum at the back of your mouth in the mirror.

Gum irritation 

Your gums will be itchy, and you will need the urge to bite on them while the tooth erupts. Honey application may soothe the irritation.

Headache or fever 

It is not uncommon to have a fever or headache, mainly when a gum flap partially covers the erupting tooth. The food accumulation below the flap inflames the gums, and severe gum inflammation elicits a body response leading to headache, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. 

Gum tissue partially covering  the erupting wisdom tooth 

When there is insufficient space in the jaw, the teeth become impacted or emerge towards the cheeks in the mouth. The erupting teeth cannot fully erupt and may remain covered with a gum flap. This flap is known as the peri-coronal flap.  

The flap gets infected if brushing and oral hygiene practices are neglected. 

The infection may occur during stress, menstruation, viral infection, or a depressed immune system. This infection and gum inflammation is known as pericoronitis. 

Management of pericoronitis 

There are two options to manage it:

Surgical removal of gum flap: The gums flap is removed by cryotherapy, laser, or a surgical blade. However, the chances of gum tissue growing back are high, and you may need a second round of it if it comes back. 

Removal of wisdom tooth: The permanent option to treat frequent episodes of pericoronitis is to extract the tooth. 

Crowding to front teeth

In people with small jaws, the erupting wisdom teeth may put pressure on your front teeth and may cause crowding of the teeth. 

In other words, the relatively large-sized molar displaces the small, single-rooted incisors (front teeth) from their original position into a new place to create space for themselves. It occurs more frequently in the lower jaws.

Cheek biting and a white line or speck on the inner cheek 

The partially or fully erupted wisdom teeth that erupt towards the cheek are often linked to cheek biting while eating or clenching. The malpositioned teeth can even cause an ulcer if frequently bitten by sharp cusps of the teeth. 

Long-term low-grade injury to the cheek responds to this irritant by producing a thick layer of keratin which appears as a white line or speck on the cheeks. 

Resorption of roots of the second molar in mesioangular and horizontal wisdom impactions

If the wisdom tooth is stuck in the bone with insufficient space in the mouth for its eruption, it may resorb the root of the adjacent tooth (7th tooth from the midline or second molar). This may occur in impactions where the molar lies horizontally or erupts tilted towards the second molar. These abnormal wisdom tooth positions, if come in contact with the root of the second molar, may resorb their roots by the pushing force from the developing root. 

Such cases require removal of wisdom tooth to save the second molar.

For more info on what to eat after wisdom tooth removal. Click here.

first signs of wisdom teeth coming in
The erupting wisdom tooth is causing root resorption of the second molar.

Conclusion

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. You will see their eruption between 17-25 years. The most frequent first signs of wisdom teeth coming into the mouth are as follows:

  • Pain in the back of the mouth where the tooth is piercing the gums
  • Irritation of the gums 
  • Fever and headache 
  • Red and swollen gum pad 
  • Gums partially covering the erupting tooth  
  • Cheek biting 

Less common signs of wisdom teeth coming in the mouth are crowding of front teeth and resorption of second molar.

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2 thoughts on “8 First signs of wisdom teeth coming in ”

  1. I’ve had this persistent toothache that won’t go away for a week now, so I’m starting to worry that it might be a wisdom tooth that is about to come out soon since it doesn’t seem like it’ll go away soon. I appreciate you letting us know that we can feel a wisdom tooth coming in if the back of our mouth hurts, especially while eating since the gum pad will be inflamed and swollen. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a dentist to visit for a possible wisdom teeth extraction soon.

    1. Some people experience pain when wisdom teeth erupt in the mouth; for others, it’s painless. If you are experiencing pain in the gum pad behind the second molar, wait for the tip of wisdom tooth to erupt. The penetration of the wisdom tooth tip from the gums often alleviates the pain.

      If the wisdom tooth erupts in the correct position, it doesn’t require removal.

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