Growth of Wisdom Teeth

A panoramic X-ray is taken (Fig.1 ) when Ms. Xu is 18 years old.  Because of her small jaws, four of her wisdom teeth (*) are impacted.  Compared with neighboring teeth, these wisdom teeth are off angle (Fig.2,3 (magnification of Fig.1 around the wisdom teeth) red lines).  Extraction is recommended, but she is too scared to get them done.

Three years later a new panoramic X-ray is taken (Fig.4).  As jawbone grows side-way (Fig.4 arrows), the wisdom teeth are straighter and longer (Fig.5,6, compare to Fig.2,3).  Red lines also represent the lengths of the wisdom teeth.  These wisdom teeth are still impacted.  Ms. Xu has had mild pain now and then, but she does not want to have them extracted.  Now she is in college out of state.  The impacted teeth may cause infection if she does not take good care of herself away from home. 

Now it is still good time to take out these teeth.  As time passes, the roots will grow longer and the bone surrounding them becomes harder.  Extraction is becoming more and more difficult.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 05/22/2013, last revision 05/22/2013