Teeth erupt in stages between babyhood and adolescence, culminating in the final stage of wisdom teeth. It all begins with the first incisors. The canines, premolars and molars are next. The last stage is the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are quite intriguing to dentists and anyone else with a natural intellectual curiosity. Dentists often refer to wisdom teeth as the mouth’s third molars as they appear toward the back of the mouth. It is interesting to note that some people do not have any issues with their wisdom teeth while others have wisdom teeth that cause considerable pain and lead to an abcess or infection.
WISDOM TEETH: THE ARRIVAL
The typical person develops four wisdom teeth. Each of these teeth emerges from behind a molar on both sides of the lower and upper jaw. Wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 21. The manner in which they emerge is unique to each individual. In some instances, wisdom teeth partially erupt or even remain buried inside the gum tissue. Such teeth that do not appear and stay covered by tissue are referred to as impacted teeth.
WHY WISDOM TEETH COME IN
Wisdom teeth are notorious for their problems. They do not serve an important purpose as the remaining teeth can handle chewing and enunciating words. This is precisely why many doctors question what, exactly, the function of wisdom teeth really is (or was). It is possible that wisdom teeth were once useful as a means of replacing molars that gradually wore out. The majority of modern day diets are comprised of comparably soft foods so teeth do not replace molars as quickly. Wisdom teeth have no gaps to fill.
WISDOM TEETH PROBLEMS CAN ARISE
Issues with wisdom teeth are mainly centered on pain, discomfort, gum disease, tooth decay and infections. Impacted wisdom teeth can yield nasty effects if cysts form beneath the teeth. Such cysts can spur the loss of bone within the jaw and pressure the nerves within the jaw.
WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL
The problems associated with wisdom teeth outlined above can be addressed with the removal of the wisdom teeth. This usually occurs when the patient is in his late teens or 20s. It should occur before problems relating to wisdom teeth occur.
At a young enough age, the roots of the wisdom teeth have not had a chance to solidify within the jaw bone. They are much easier to remove at this early stage of life. Furthermore, removing wisdom teeth later in life presents a higher risk for damage to the major nerve within the jaw known as the inferior alveolar nerve. Add in the fact that young patients tend to recover from sedation better than those who have reached middle age and it is easy to see why wisdom teeth are typically extracted when the patient is fairly young.