About Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

unknownWisdom teeth are technically known as 3rd molars.  Teeth erupt appear in sets of four (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left); however, not everyone has wisdom teeth, and even if they are present, the number of wisdom teeth can vary.  You may have four wisdom teeth or less or none or rarely more than four.

1st molar= 6-year molar
2nd molar= 12-year molar
3rd molar= wisdom tooth

Wisdom teeth, if present, don’t always erupt into the mouth, and when they don’t they are referred to as impacted. Wisdom teeth actually begin forming before age 10, and if they erupt it is usually between 17-21 years old (see Tooth Eruption Chart). Third molars usually erupt in the late teen years, which coincides with passage into adulthood and is referred to by some as the age of wisdom; hence “wisdom teeth“.

Wisdom teeth are not required for normal function, have short roots, are tipped forward and cannot adequately support bridges or partials for long. Unfortunately, the wisdom teeth are now usually trying to erupt into a jaw that is too small. Wisdom teeth are considered vestigial organs (a vestige is a degenerative or imperfectly formed organ or structure having little or no utility, but in the earlier stage of development of a species performed a useful function).

panoramic xray: wisdom teeth
panoramic x-ray: wisdom teeth

How Are Wisdom Teeth Evaluated?

Wisdom teeth are evaluated by oral examination and x-rays (usually a panoramic x-ray). We also review your medical history. The x-ray helps to determine the position of the tooth within the jaw and its relationship to nearby nerves and teeth.

Healthcare Perspectives
current problem, definitefuture problem, likely
reactiveproactive
painful, expensive, inconvenient, increased likelihood of problemseasier, more comfortable, less expensive, planned, prevents greater damage
My approach is proactive.

Problems Caused By Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teeth