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What are Wisdom Teeth?
"What are wisdom teeth?" is a question that almost everyone has to ask themselves at least once in a lifetime. If you are between sixteen to twenty five years of age then its especially relevant as that is when they are liable to damage your health. This is the time when the adults develop wisdom teeth which are usually any of the four third molars at the rear end of your denture. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, two on each side of the jaws. Yet, about ten percent of the people in the world do not develop wisdom teeth in their lifetime and hence may not know or experience the rather painful process.
Most teeth in the dental arrangement have specific names based on function such as incisors, canines, pre-molars and molars, why are these then called ‘wisdom teeth’? The answer is that that last formed molars in the rear end of the jaw are associated with coming of age or attaining maturity. Hence, the name ‘wisdom teeth’!
"In ancient Arabic, wisdom tooth stands for “tooth of maturity” or “the adulthood teeth”. Those are usually the last ones to erupt in the mouth and hence it is called the "last tooth". Due to the fact that wisdom teeth cause pain when they are erupting they are referred to as "love teeth" in Korean."

X-ray image of a retained wisdom tooth

X-ray of a retained wisdom tooth


Featured Blog Articles about Wisdom Teeth


About Wisdom Teeth

The eruption of wisdom teeth is often associated with pain in the rear end of the jaw and difficulty in chewing. Many people experience pain in the jaw due to them piercing through the gums, often when the rest of the denture has already settled. Consequently, this can lead to a shortage of space in the jaw and further health concerns. The entire dental arrangement in the jaw is altered due to the fresh development of the new wisdom tooth. In some cases, they can lead to gum problems, inflammations and tooth decay. It is not to be taken lightly, as commonly these issues can result in serious infections and health risks from food debris or malformation.

What are wisdom teeth for?

When you already have a fully functional and comfortable dental set in your mouth, you might wonder what the additional ones are for. The answer is pretty simple. The function of wisdom teeth is the same as other molars in your jaw. They are very useful for chewing and grinding when they are formed properly. This means that wisdom teeth are formed with proper alignment, spacing and attachment to the gums. This ensures that they are part of the regular bite action and contribute effectively to chewing, shredding and grinding. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with wisdom teeth and hence they may necessitate removal surgery to avoid complications.
Have a look at the following posts in our dental forum. Professional opinions and answers from the dentists, for all your wisdom tooth issues:


Symptoms of wisdom tooth complications

Common symptoms of wisdom teeth problems include pain and irritation from the eruption in awkward directions in the rear end of the mouth. Pain from the jagged teeth rubbing against the cheek, tongue and top and bottom parts of the mouth is commonly noticed. Other symptoms include stiffness near the impacted wisdom teeth, infected swelling of the gum near the site of emergence, tooth decay, gum disease and partial eruption. Crowding of the teeth in the mouth is another reason for wisdom teeth extraction.
Diagnosing wisdom teeth complications is commonly carried out by skilled dentists who are able to figure this out immediately. X-rays may also be performed normally to zero in on the diagnosis and understand the present situation. A small extraction procedure is performed with local anesthesia if deemed neccesary after studying the X-ray.

What is wisdom teeth removal?

X-ray of an impacted wisdom tooth

X-ray of an impacted wisdom tooth

Since wisdom teeth usually emerge in the latter stages of childhood after the permanent denture has already been formed and adjusted in the jaw, they often cause deformations; changes in overall teeth arrangement and spacing and also alter facial appearance and jaw shape. The formation also gives rise to some pain during the eruption stage and can lead to complications such as partial eruption, infections, occlusion, chronic inflammation and gingivitis to name a few. Removing wisdom teeth is a common practice and routine procedure across the world. They are usually extracted when they have become impacted; that is when they are angled or not completely formed, or if they pose to be problematic if not removed.
For example, wisdom teeth may be completely encased in the jaw bone as in bony impaction or might still be trapped under the gums known as soft impaction. In both these cases, it can lead to a number of problems later on. Commonly, some cysts and tumors may also form in and around the general area. This adds to the complications and requires treatment to solve the problems. In many cases, any debris or food particle present near the site of eruption could lead to infections and medical complications.
Another reason for extracting wisdom teeth is the fact that they rub against the cheek and tongue increasing pain symptoms. Malocclusion is a condition which results due to over crowding of teeth in the jaw. This condition is also commonly caused when the wisdom teeth erupt.
Featured Dental Videos Related to Wisdom Teeth


"Wisdom teeth extraction is a clinically approved process that aims to reduce the pain, justify facial shape preservation while maintaining appropriate teeth arrangement and infection prevention."


Risks of wisdom teeth removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a relatively simple process that is performed by many dentists around the world. However, there are a few complications that you need to watch out for when you are thinking about the surgical extraction procedure.
Inflammation of the extraction site and dry socket formation in the area in the jaw from which the wisdom tooth was removed are common occurrences. Bleeding from the gums is also common for up to a few days following the extraction. This is no reason for panic but you should not rule out the probability of serious complications in arising post removal. These include serious nerve damage and infection in the teeth and extraction site. Nevertheless, these dental problems occur in less than one percent of the cases around the world.
For more information about wisdom teeth extraction and further educational videos, check the dental surgery videos on