Most people are familiar with the term “wisdom teeth” to describe their third molars. These are the last teeth to erupt in a person’s mouth. Typically, wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. They are called “wisdom teeth” because this time frame has been called the “Age of Wisdom.”
People have wisdom teeth, we think, because of the rough diet of early humans. This rough diet resulted in a lot of wear and tear on a person’s teeth. To compensate, teeth typically drifted, freeing up space in the back of the mouth. This ensured that there was enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt by adolescence. Fortunately for us today, the modern diet is much softer and so we no longer have as much of this problem. Unfortunately, this diet combined with orthodontia doesn’t leave room for wisdom teeth to erupt, thus setting the stage for problems when the final four molars attempt to enter the mouth. Orthodontia plays a role because it typically produces a much more full dental arch.
When there isn’t enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth, they become impacted. The growth and eruption of the tooth is frequently prevented by overlying gum, bone, or even another tooth. It is possible for a tooth to be partially impacted or totally impacted. Totally impacted teeth are unable to break through the gum at all. Partially impacted teeth have broken through the gum to some degree. These partially and totally impacted teeth can be painful and lead to infection. In addition, they can crowd or damage the other teeth and their roots.
A more serious problem is when the sac surrounding the tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. The cyst will continue to grow unless it is removed. As a result, it can hollow out the jaw and permanently damage teeth, bone, and nerves. In very rare cases, a tumor can develop from the cyst’s walls and a more serious surgical procedure may be needed to remove it.
Not all problems pertaining to wisdom teeth are painful or visible. Damage is possible even without people being aware. It is a good idea to have wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible. This is because as they grow, their roots become longer. This makes the process much more difficult and can result in more complications.
For more information on wisdom teeth and other issues in dentistry, please visit http://www.drbagai.com