Almost all of the teeth used for chewing erupt into the oral cavity by the time a person reaches teenage years. However, there are a few teeth that only eruption the early twenties or later, these are the wisdom teeth.
What are wisdom teeth?
The third molars are colloquially known as wisdom teeth. Since they are the last teeth to erupt, they are known as wisdom teeth. The four wisdom teeth, one in each side of the upper and lower arch, have a minor role to play in the process of chewing. In the early humans, they were very functional as the jaws were bigger and wider. Due to evolution, the jaws have constricted, thus, making the wisdom teeth vestigial. However, in some people, these teeth have erupted in the right way. In such cases, they do help in breaking the food particles but to a very small extent.
Eruption patterns of wisdom tooth
When wisdom teeth do not erupt in their designated space in the oral cavity due to lack of space, they get stuck beneath the gums or in the jaw bone. Such teeth are referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth may or may not cause pain.
How do impacted wisdom teeth cause problems?
- When the wisdom tooth has no space to be out in right position, it tends to emerge in a tilted position or it just emerges partially. Any wisdom teeth which is partially erupted can cause accumulation of food between the gums surrounding the tooth or the adjacent molar. In the long run, this can cause cavity formation.
- Wisdom teeth which have erupted around buccally or towards your cheek also cause cheek biting and irritate your muscles around that region and can sometimes cause cheek biting and reduced mouth opening.
- Even the partially erupted wisdom tooth may not be easy to clean, thus affecting the oral hygiene. The plaque accumulation may lead to gum infection around the wisdom tooth (pericoronitis), which is a painful condition.
- An impacted wisdom tooth, which is angulated, may damage the adjacent teeth too. Such decays are generally hidden and are mostly seen as an accidental finding while taking radiographs. Hence it is very important for your dentist to check the adjacent second molars. If there are any signs of infection or decay it must be attended to immediately to avoid larger procedures.
An OPG of a patient showing decay caused on the second molar due to a mesially erupted wisdom teeth
- Also, in some people, the impacted wisdom tooth could contribute to the formation of a cyst. This cyst, if left undiagnosed or untreated, may damage the roots of adjacent healthy teeth or the bone structure providing support to the other teeth.
Why should one remove the wisdom teeth?
When a wisdom tooth has erupted perfectly in its place without affecting the adjacent teeth, it is as functional as any other tooth in the oral cavity and does not require extraction. But, if the wisdom tooth is the source of pain, infection or cyst, removal is the only solution.
Wisdom tooth removal can be advised for other reasons too. For example, if it seems to cause decay in the adjacent tooth, or cause gum disease, it would be best to get rid of the wisdom tooth in order to save the other teeth and to maintain good oral hygiene.
How to care for wisdom teeth?
The third molars are the last teeth in the oral cavity. Generally, it is difficult to maintain it clean. So, in order to keep the wisdom teeth healthy, one must take extra care in maintaining the oral hygiene by brushing properly and flossing around the wisdom teeth too. Make sure to spend a few more minutes while brushing to reach the wisdom teeth. Use the right toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste to maintain the health of your wisdom teeth. Regular dental check-ups can be very helpful in monitoring the condition of the wisdom teeth and to prevent any decay.
At ivory smiles dental clinic- leading dentist in HSR Layout, our experienced group of oral and maxilla facial surgeons perform easy to difficult extractions in the best possible manner with very less pain and post-operative issues. Contact 9008647868/080-42229797 for appointments.