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When human beings are born all organs and parts of the body will be already formed, inside the mother’s womb, except “Teeth”. Though the roots will be formed in a baby inside mother’s uterus, the teeth will appear in the born baby after about 6 to 30 months. The teeth are called “Milk Teeth” or “Baby Teeth”. There will be twenty Milk Teeth, 10 on each arch. These initial teeth will fall when the child is 8 to 13 years old. New permanent teeth will appear immediately after falling of each milk tooth. The maximum number of teeth for human beings are 32; 16 on the upper arch and 16 on the lower arch of the mouth. Before the age of 12, except two outer teeth on both the arches, 28 permanent teeth will appear, 14 on each arch.
The balance of 4 outer teeth, will appear in the late teenage or in the early twenties(from 18 to 23). They are called the 3rd molars, because they erupt behind the 2nd molars in the mouth. The wisdom teeth are not at all necessary for good oral health. They are called “Wisdom Teeth”, because they appear when the boy or girl becomes sufficiently older and supposed to become wise when they just cross their teenage, by education and experience, they are called “Wisdom Teeth”, which may not appear for some people. However, the appearing or not appearing of these teeth really will not mean they are wise or unwise.
They are usually extracted when they affect other teeth, by their coming in sideways. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it is possible to have more or fewer. Extra teeth are referred to as ‘supernumerary teeth’.
Normally wisdom teeth cause some of the following problems/complications:-
- Gum disease:-Mostly there will be pain when a wisdom tooth tries to erupt. Because the partly erupted teeth will be difficult to keep clean, and the accumulated food particles will cause infection in the gums around the tooth. Such an infection will be with swelling and pain around the area. Sometimes the tooth will be trying to erupt, but it will find it difficult to come out of the gums, due to insufficient space inside the mouth, at the outer ends of the teeth arches. The coming out tooth will press the gums and cause pain.
- Impacted:-Normally there will not be enough space for the teeth to come out. So they will erupt in abnormal directions, sideways, and will get locked in the jaw. This locking is known as impaction.
- Positions of Impaction:-Due to unavailability of space in the jaws, the impacted wisdom teeth grow in many different directions, commonly at an angle.
- A wisdom tooth which grows at an angle towards the other teeth is called “Mesio-angularly impacted”.
- A wisdom tooth which erupts at an angle away from the other teeth is called “Disto-angularly impacted”.
- A wisdom tooth facing the other teeth horizontally is called “Horizontally impacted”.
- A Wisdom tooth which is in normal direction but is still unable to erupt due to lack of space is called “Vertically impacted”.
- Decay:-Wisdom teeth will decay unnoticed, as they are the most difficult teeth to keep clean, being so far back into the mouth.
- Crowding:-An impacted or erupting wisdom tooth can push on adjacent teeth, causing them to become crooked or even damaging them structurally.
- Cyst:-If the sac that holds the crown of the wisdom tooth remains in the bone, it can fill with fluid, forming a cyst which will destroy the surrounding bone.
- Normally wisdom teeth are removed to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may arise in future. Wisdom teeth are extracted for two general reasons:
- If the wisdom teeth have already become impacted
- If the wisdom teeth could potentially become problematic, if not extracted.
- Potential problems caused by the presence of properly grown-in wisdom teeth include:-
- Infections caused by food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth, where regular brushing and flossing is difficult and not effective. Such infections may be frequent, and cause considerable pain and medical danger.
- If the wisdom teeth have grown improperly, causing the tongue to brush up against them: The tongue can tolerate it for a limited time, until it causes a painful sensation, to the point where the sheer pain can numb the tongue affected, and the area around it, part of the lips, and the cheek. The numbness feels similar to the feeling of anesthesia, and nerves can be affected by the wisdom teeth improperly growing in.
The extraction of wisdom teeth should be done by dental professionals with proper training and experience performing such extractions. Some of the problems after removal of wisdom teeth are unavoidable and natural, while others are under the control of the patient. Bleeding and oozing is inevitable and may last up to three days.
The dental evaluation for “Wisdom Teeth” consists of oral examination and X-rays. The dentist must know the patient’s medical history, as extraction of an impacted tooth usually is a minor surgical procedure. The X-rays will show the type of impaction and thus the dentist will plan for the appropriate treatment.
Once the Wisdom teeth are removed, the patient must take steps to keep the mouth healthy. They must floss and brush daily to ward off tooth decay and gum disease, and have regular dental check-ups.
It is wise to get the “Wisdom Teeth” removed, on Dental Consultation.