Have you ever wondered why we call the teeth at the back of our mouth wisdom teeth?
One could have imagined that it is because it’s only the wise who have the complete 4 of them in the mouth or it is because they usually stand out among other forms of teeth in the mouth, so that they will dodge being used for hard labour of crushing and chewing and thus last longer in the mouth. Anyway, the usual answer is that they’re thought to be called “wisdom teeth” because they appear so late—much later than the other teeth, at an age in which people are supposed to be wiser than children – which is when all your other teeth grow. Easy isn’t it?
Wisdom teeth or third molars are the teeth furthest away in the jaws and they are usually the last ones to erupt… if they ever come out! They usually erupt between the ages of 17yrs and 21yrs. Also, 90% of Young people around of 20yrs have at least one wisdom tooth that hasn’t yet erupted or that has erupted only partially. Wisdom teeth can continue to erupt until the age of 25yrs.For their emergence and eruption to occur without any barrier, there must be adequate growth at the back and each side of the jaws to fully accommodate these teeth. For most people who have full set of teeth, they rarely experience this and all or some of the wisdom teeth fail to erupt. Missing wisdom teeth does not mean they’re not there. That’s because wisdom teeth can be fully or partially buried within the soft tissue or the jawbone. Therefore, a radiograph can be taken by your dentist using an x-ray machine to reveal any hidden teeth, as well as any potential problems with their growth.
The growth that is essential to allow the eruption of third molars mostly occur at the back of the jaws. If growth is insufficient, wisdom teeth will remain embedded or buried. It is very uncommon to see someone with full complete set of 32 teeth in the mouth (including wisdom teeth) that are well aligned and functional. Some can have up to 32 teeth in the mouth including wisdom teeth but it is very rare to see a dentition with all the teeth positioned in a pleasant and functional way. About 2% of people are born without any of the four wisdom teeth.
Generally speaking, teeth that have not fully completed their eruption into the mouth within a reasonable time but are completely submerged under the gum are called “impacted teeth” and if they pierce through the gum only partially, they are called “semi-impacted”. The worldwide dental community agrees to recommend the extraction of third molars that are symptomatic (having symptoms such as pain) or cause pain, infection, damage to other teeth around them
Those who have symptomatic impacted third molar teeth regard them as “trouble”. It can also be referred to as embedded tooth. They are the last teeth to show up in the mouth and often there wouldn’t be enough room for them. Imagine a child who inherited small jaw from mummy and big teeth from daddy …it will tell on the last teeth to erupt because even those that would erupt earlier would have to struggle for the little space available not to talk of the last one to erupt. The teeth becomes impacted because the adjacent teeth, dense overlying bone, excessive soft tissue prevents eruption into the mouth .Thus, discrepancies between the jaw size and tooth size is a major predisposing factor to the problems with the wisdom teeth. Most people have four wisdom teeth but up to 10% of the population missing one or more. When wisdom teeth become impacted they cause a number of problems. There should be a book titled ‘the struggle of the third molar ‘…lol
So, in summary the third molar is the one called wisdom tooth, it could cause some problems if it becomes embedded or mal-positioned or covered by flesh of tissues .It could be one of the reasons why one will visit a dental clinic, it could cause some problems varying from discomfort, gum swelling, pain, mouth odour, inability to fully open the mouth, fever among others especially when it is infected. In view of these, it would be nice if you can talk to your dentist about the status of every of your wisdom tooth. Click here to read about Six (6) Problems You Can Have With Your Wisdom Teeth