Wisdom Teeth

Health Insurance Benefits

Wisdom Teeth A person’s wisdom teeth or the third molars, are large back teeth in humans and other mammals, used for chewing and grinding. These teeth are the last teeth that emerge from your gums. This occurs generally between the ages of 17 and 25. During Stone Age, human beings had tougher diets; they use to have food which could not be easily chewed, and thus, needed larger jaws and more teeth to chew their food. However, through evolution and change in our eating habits, there is no need for larger jaws now, and thus, the problem arises when all 32 teeth grow into the mouth and are unable to fit in the smaller jaw.

Problems

It has been observed that quite often problems with wisdom teeth develop cysts that require their removal. When the jaw isn’t large enough to hold wisdom teeth, they can become impacted teeth (incapable to come in or crooked) requiring extraction. A tooth becomes impacted owing to lack of space in the dental arch and its eruption for that reason is prevented by gum, bone, another tooth or all three. These teeth may grow sideways, come out only part way from the gum or stay trapped underneath the gum and bone.

These teeth usually cause trouble when they erupt partially through the gum. You may want to remove wisdom teeth as soon as possible. Extraction of wisdom teeth is by and large suggested when:

(a) They erupt only partially, because this provides an opening for bacteria to penetrate the tooth and cause an infection. This results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness etc.
(b) There is a possibility that a scantily aligned wisdom tooth will harm adjacent teeth.
(c) A cyst (fluid filled sac) may develop from the soft tissue in the region of an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts grounds bone destruction, jaw expansion and dislocation or damage to nearby teeth. The removal of the tooth and cyst is essential to avoid further bone loss.
(d) A wisdom tooth that is still under the gums may become irritated. The gum tissue that lies over the tooth may harbor food debris and bacteria that gets trapped under the gum, resulting in an infection in the gums.

Accessing Wisdom Teeth

Oral surgery is typically advisable to remove the teeth because of the following reasons:

It is difficult to access these teeth with the toothbrush or floss which gives rise to the growth of bacteria, sugars and acids that causes cavity to form in the tooth. If it is not healed in time with a filling, chances are that the cavity may spread and raze more tooth structure.

Secondly, as it is very difficult even to reach out for the wisdom, keeping these teeth clean with daily home care (brushing and flossing) is some what unattainable, and thus, bacteria and food remains on the teeth may present a foul smell-causing bad breath.

Another reason can be the position of the teeth; a wisdom tooth that is still beneath the gums in a horizontal position (rather than a vertical position) may exert stress or pressure to the adjacent teeth, causing crowding and crooked teeth.

Wisdom teeth are important asset to the mouth, but only when they are healthy and properly positioned.

 

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