Health

What Is Wisdom Teeth (Or The Third Molars)?

What are wisdom teeth? Have your wisdom teeth already erupted? Or are you just plain curious to know what wisdom teeth are all about and want to know everything about it? Some people may joke that wisdom teeth appear only when you have gained wisdom from your life’s experiences. I believed when I was a kid that people who have wisdom teeth have already become wise. Badoo sign in login Since wisdom teeth appear as a person matures, you just can’t blame my naive mind back then. But what do wisdom teeth really mean?

What Is Wisdom Teeth?

Also referred to as the third molar, a wisdom tooth is one of the three molars in a person’s set of teeth. This is the final molar and most posterior of all molars. There are usually four wisdom teeth in all, and they erupt when a person is in his or her late teens or early twenties, ranging from 17 to 25 years of age.

Each of these wisdom teeth is located on the four quadrants of the mouth. There are also rare instances where a person can have more than four wisdom teeth, and these extra teeth are called supernumerary teeth. The eruptions of the wisdom teeth do not pose any problem as long as they are healthy and aligned properly.

However, and in most cases, these teeth are misaligned and will require removal so that it will not affect the positioning of the other normal teeth.

What Is The Function Of Wisdom Teeth?

The third and final molars helped our ancestors grind tissues of plants. The skulls of our ancestors have larger jaws with the presence of more teeth and probably helped them chew foliage to compensate for their inability to effectively digest cellulose that makes up the cell wall of the plants. As human diets changed over the years, the larger jaws evolved into smaller ones. However, the wisdom teeth still develop inside human mouths. What happens when the wisdom teeth are misaligned or impacted?

Knowing about wisdom teeth and their positions is important because it will tell you whether you have healthy teeth or not. When I say healthy teeth, this does not only mean the teeth being cavity-free but being positioned correctly as well. When a wisdom tooth is misaligned, it will position itself in a horizontal manner, directed to or away from the second molars or directed inwards or outwards. This poor alignment of a wisdom tooth may damage the nearby teeth, your jawbone or the nerves.

Aside from misalignment, another thing that can pose a problem is an impacted wisdom tooth. You will know that your wisdom tooth is impacted if it is enclosed inside a soft tissue of your jawbone. It is also considered impacted if it partially erupts through the gums. This partial eruption provides an opening that allows bacteria to enter the tooth area and will eventually lead to an infection.

The infection will cause pain, stiffness of the jaw, swelling and general illness may also occur. A partially erupted wisdom tooth is also susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. Since they are hard to reach when you brush, and the positioning of the teeth is awkward, it will make brushing as well as flossing the area difficult.

Will I Know If I Have Wisdom Teeth?

Yes, you will know whether you have a wisdom tooth or not. If your wisdom tooth has already erupted, you will know that it is already there by simply checking inside your mouth at each dental quadrant. But if your wisdom tooth is impacted, you might need medical help to see it.

An impacted wisdom tooth is located under the tissue. Hence, it will need an x-ray for you to see it. It is usually recommended to have a panoramic radiograph to help evaluate the angle of the eruption and also know about the state of development of your wisdom tooth.

Usually, a dentist or oral surgeon will tell you if there are problems with any of your wisdom teeth. If they feel that it will pose some issues in the future, they will recommend the removal of your problematic wisdom teeth before the trouble starts. The extraction of a wisdom tooth is done to prevent a more painful and complicated extraction which might occur any time later.

Removals and extractions are usually easier with younger people since the roots of the wisdom teeth are not yet fully developed, and the bone is less solid. If extraction is done on older people, the recovery and healing time may be longer.

How Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

Once a wisdom tooth fully erupts through your gums, it can easily be extracted through the normal procedure used to extract regular teeth. However, if a wisdom tooth is still lying inside the gums and embedded in your jawbone, the surgeon may need to incise your gums and remove a portion of the bone that covers the tooth.

In cases like this, the surgeon will also opt to remove the tooth in smaller sections rather than remove it as a whole to lessen the amount of bone that will be removed to take the whole tooth out. There is no need to worry about the pain that you might experience should you ever decide to get any of your wisdom teeth out. Before it is pulled out, a local anesthetic will be given to numb your tooth and its surrounding tissues.

You may also talk to your dentist or surgeon to give you some sedative to minimize any anxieties that may have during the procedure. You can choose sedatives such as nitrous oxide which is most commonly known as laughing gas, valium or an intravenous sedative.

Will I Be Able To Recover Soon After The Surgery?

Since you now know what wisdom teeth removal surgery is, it is also important to learn about the recovery period. The speed of your recovery will depend on the degree of your tooth extraction. A simple extraction of a fully erupted wisdom tooth requires less recovery time when compared to an impacted tooth which is a more complicated job.

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