Chapter – 8 Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth? 

As we are all aware, humans are said to have 32 teeth. 28 teeth are likely to erupt by the age of 13-14 years and the rest of the 4 teeth are the third set of molars in your mouth which are called wisdom teeth. They are placed at the last in the mouth and are the last to emerge in the mouth. Commonly the wisdom teeth erupts during 17 to 25 years of age, however that is not the case always. It is normal to feel slight discomfort during the eruption of the teeth. It is a cause for concern when there is pain or swelling associated with it. Some of us may or may not have wisdom teeth.

What is impacted wisdom teeth?

Very few people have wisdom teeth which erupt properly and cause no problems. Often, it can grow at an angle because of the lack of space or it can get stuck inside the tissues and that can cause a lot of issues. When the teeth is stuck inside the jaw bone it is called as impacted wisdom teeth. When only half of the teeth is out of the bone and the other half is below the gums , it is called as partially erupted wisdom teeth.

What happens when wisdom teeth are missing?

It is common to have missing wisdom teeth and it is not an issue. Wisdom teeth do not erupt for a variety of reasons, including a lack of space in the dental arch, thick bone above the wisdom tooth, or an accidental upside-down wisdom teeth. In most cases, impacted wisdom teeth do not cause any issues.

What are the symptoms ?

  • Tooth pain
  • Food getting stuck in between the teeth.
  • Gum pain, swelling or bleeding.
  • Jaw rigidity and limited mouth opening.
  • Pain near the ear while opening your mouth wide. 

What is the treatment?

If you have pain, visit your dentist. They may take an x-ray to see the position of the tooth in the jaw. The treatment is on case by case basis. The treatment can be a filling or root canal in some cases or doing nothing but wait and watch. Other treatments can be removal of the swollen gum tissue or symptomatic pain management. If the tooth is causing problems and it has no space for it to erupt into the jaw then it may have to be removed.

When does wisdom teeth need to be removed?

  • Food lodgement which occurs often
  • Pain in that tooth or surrounding the tooth 
  • Swelling or redness in the tooth region 
  • Difficulty/ Reduced mouth opening 
  • Before braces to create space

You cannot prevent having impacted wisdom tooth but proper oral hygiene practices can reduce the amount of problems caused by it. Visit your dentist regularly for overall better dental health. 

Keep Smiling & Stay Happy

Dr. Gnanaraj Jayabal
Dental & Implant Surgeon
Denticare Chennai

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