Wisdom teeth

November 12, 2012

Wisdom teeth

How many teeth do we have? Is 28 the correct answer? Or maybe 32? Or anything in between? Whatever you choose you just can’t get it wrong. The number of teeth people have varies individually. Wisdom teeth, also called the third molars are the ones which make the difference.

It is well known that about 35% of people do not develop wisdom teeth at all, if they do though, they are known to appear between the ages of 17 and 25. This is how us, human beings, so much alike in our biological structure still have individual particularities.

The history of wisdom teeth

Many years ago, our earliest ancestors survived on a diet based on raw meat, nuts, roots, berries and leaves. In order to survive they had to eat, just like any human being. As an adaptation to the lack of knives to cut their food and even the lack of fire to cook their meat, they developed broader jaws and a greater number of teeth, including the wisdom teeth. Not only the number was increased, but the strength of the teeth as well.

Today, as new technologies have developed and the entire society has moved to a higher level, having hundreds of possibilities to proccess food through, e.g., cutting, diceing, chopping, boiling and baking, it has become much easier to eat, and to survive. Our jaws have become smaller and as a result the necessity offor having the wisdom teeth has vanished. Moreover, in many cases they make nothing but trouble.

Complications caused by wisdom teeth eruption

Wisdom teeth can fail to erupt through the gum line. These are called impacted third molars. They can fall into 4 different categories:

  • mesioangular impaction: the tooth is angled forward;

  • vertical impaction;

  • distoangular impaction: the tooth is angled backward;

  • horizontal impaction: the least common form in which the tooth is angled fully 90 degrees sideways.

Wisdom teeth can also erupt incompletely, which is called partial eruption. In this case these teeth are covered by a soft tissue flap called operculum. In either situation, if the teeth are decayed, cause pain, inflamation or swelling because of insufficient mechanical and self- cleaning – they must be removed.

Talking about all these complications which can cause a great deal of trouble and dicomfort we might forget about the great probability of normal wisdom teeth eruption. The normally erupted teeth might also need to be extracted in cases of smaller jaws. People with small jaws, but all 32 teeth erupted do not have enough room for all of them. Teeth become crowded, they suffer abnormal positioning changes and the person concerned might need braces, a special device for repositioning the teeth and bringing them back to normal. Before applying these devices the doctor might recommend the extraction of the third molars, in order to create room for the teeth that need to be moved into place.

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