X-Ray of problematic wisdom teethQuestion: There has been a lot of talk about wisdom teeth in my class but I’m a little bit confused in regards to what they are? I’d like to know what wisdom teeth are and the role they play in the mouth.

Answer: Wisdom teeth are the last sets of molars to appear at the rear of your mouth. The term wisdom originates from the fact that the molars emerge at a time in your life when you are starting to understand what it means to be wise in life. But basically they are the last three sets of teeth at the back of your mouth.

What Is the Number of Teeth in a Healthy Human?

Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25 years. However, there are people who do not get wisdom teeth until the age of 30 years. So if your wisdom teeth haven’t emerged by the age of 25 years, do not be worried as this is quite natural.

The number of teeth that an average person ought to have is 32. Nevertheless, this number is increased to 36 after the final four teeth appear later in life. Just because you do not have wisdom teeth does not mean that you cannot perform oral functions like chewing and talking. In fact you will be able to eat and chew foods ranging from meat to nuts devoid of wisdom teeth.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Problems?

The difference between wisdom teeth and normal teeth is the fact that they find it difficult to break through. This is because there is little room in your jaw to accommodate new teeth. Consequently, the eruption of wisdom teeth is normally accompanied by pain and tenderness of the jaw. Most of the time wisdom teeth fail to emerge as a result of impaction.

In a layman’s term, impacted teeth are teeth which fail to emerge properly. If you look through a mirror, you will only be able to see the crown and not the rest of the teeth. In the event that it is determined that the pain caused by the eruption of your wisdom teeth is as a result of impaction, your dentist will recommend extraction. The only undesirable side effect of removing wisdom teeth is inflammation of the gums.

Then again, there are several other factors that can aggravate the pain in your wisdom teeth. Food particles that get stuck in-between the teeth have been attributed to the pain. It is for this reason that you are advised to constantly brush your teeth and rinse your mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash.


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