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Wisdom Teeth: All you need to know

What are they?

The wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, which erupt around the age of 17-25, in each quadrant- upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left-of the mouth. They are referred to as wisdom teeth because of their late timing in showing up, which is the age when a person enters the stage of maturity and is supposed to become wise.

Although in most cases one or more wisdom teeth are absent; it is still possible to have more than four of them, the supernumerary teeth. These set of teeth cause mild pain when they are pushing against the gum to come out. Aligned and fully erupted wisdom teeth are a boon to a healthy mouth as opposed to misaligned, and half erupted ones which prove to be a curse.

Why are they undesirable?

Faulty Alignment

Misaligned wisdom teeth are the ones which grow against the natural flow of the teeth, they may point towards or away from the tongue, or emerge at an angle which may be in the direction of or away from the second set of molars. This makes cleaning them a difficult task and therefore causes cavity build up around the area.

Partial Eruption

Because they are the last of the lot at the back of the mouth, many a times wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow, and so they end up showing only half of themselves. This partial breakthrough attracts bacteria and becomes a breeding ground for them, causing an infection called Pericoronitis around the tooth. It may also happen that wisdom teeth do not emerge at all. Such teeth become a victim to getting impacted or enclosed within the jaw.

What problems do they cause?

Undesirable wisdom teeth like the partially erupted ones or the ones that have erupted near the lower jaw nerve, readily attack the adjacent teeth, jawbone, gums, or the nerves, causing pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and tooth decay.

According to the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth become a real problem when they cause the surrounding area to pain, or become prone to repeated infections, cysts, tumors and gum diseases. They may also be the one responsible for causing tooth decay around them.

Such situations necessitate the removal of our wise tooth! It is then advised that one should get the tooth removed before its roots get a stronger hold of the jaw.

When can one avoid the extraction of the tooth?

To avoid the extraction of the wisdom tooth, one requires to be sure about its sound condition. This set of teeth need to make a neat cut through, be fully grown and functional, and at the same time be clean, pain-free, and disease-free.

Sometimes minor alterations in the infected tissues are enough to cure them, but they have to be regularly tested for any unfavorable changes with the help of x-rays and periodic check-ups. It is most essential to maintain oral-hygiene through healthy practices.

 

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