AN INTRODUCTION TO WISDOM TEETH

AN INTRODUCTION TO WISDOM TEETH

1. WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH?

Wisdom teeth are the final permanent teeth that emerge. They’re the third and the last set of molars that emerge at the back of your jaw and will erupt on both the top and bottom rows of your teeth.

2. WHY ARE THEY CALLED WISDOM TEETH?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to appear and the eruption process usually starts in the late teens to the early twenties. They’re called wisdom teeth because of their late emergence. They erupt when individuals are wiser and closer to adulthood.

3. WHY DO WE HAVE WISDOM TEETH?

Anthropologists believe that we have wisdom teeth because of our ancestor’s dietary requirements. Human beings in the past consumed a steady diet of rough food like roots, nuts, tough meat, leaves, etc. These food items required more chewing power and caused a considerable amount of wear to the teeth. Wisdom teeth provided more chewing power and reduced the amount of wear suffered by the teeth. This added chewing power isn’t required in the modern world because our food is cooked and softened enough to consume comfortably. We also have better dental care facilities and hygiene so our teeth aren’t as vulnerable to damage.

4. DOES EVERYONE GET WISDOM TEETH?

Not everyone has wisdom teeth and not everyone will get all of them. Around 35% of the people in the world don’t get wisdom teeth. The remaining 65% do get them but usually not the complete set. A full set of wisdom teeth consists of four teeth, one each on the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right sides of the jaw. Some people only have wisdom teeth in the lower jaws, some only have them on the upper jaws, and some only have one instead of four. Wisdom teeth aren’t universal, and people who don’t have them don’t suffer any consequences. However, people who do have them can sometimes suffer consequences, if they don’t get them removed on time.

5. WHY DO WE GET WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?

If your wisdom teeth grow as they’re supposed to and don’t cause any problems, you won’t have to remove them. However, in most cases these teeth don’t emerge properly or fully. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a considerable amount of pain and damage your overall oral health if you’re not careful. Here are some reasons why dentists insist you must remove your wisdom teeth:

  • Damage to Other Teeth– Wisdom teeth need room to grow, but they emerge in a tight space. They usually have to move and rattle the other established teeth to get some space to emerge and that can cause pain and alter your bite.
  • Damage to the Jaw– Impacted wisdom teeth can cause infections in the gums and cysts around the new molars. This can lead to severe jaw or nerve damage.
  • Damage to the Teeth and Gums– Impacted teeth aren’t easy to clean so bacteria can infest these areas easily. That can lead to swollen gums and infections, cavities, and other such problems.

When you feel wisdom teeth begin to emerge, you should let your dentist know. Most dentists will keep track of the emergence and make sure it doesn’t cause a problem. Neglecting impacted wisdom teeth can cause a number of health problems down the line.