Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last set of teeth to erupt in the mouth. The common age for wisdom teeth development is 17-25. They can erupt earlier and even be delayed beyond the age of 25. Often times a person will develop four third molars in the upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. Some will develop no wisdom teeth at all. Some may develop just 1, just 2 or even 3 at a time. Area of development with less than 4 often varies.
Wisdom teeth may erupt fully, be in a bony impaction, or a soft tissue impaction. The type of eruption pattern will help determine the difficulty of an extraction, or pulling out of the tooth. A bony impaction is where the tooth’s eruption is currently blocked by bone. When the tooth starts to come through the gum tissue, a soft tissue impaction is present.
A referral is to an oral surgeon is usually needed. General anesthesia is provided and these professionals can often extract all four with little to no complications. Risks are involved as they are with any surgery, but it is a common procedure. A panoramic is a radiograph that is taken to determine number of wisdom teeth, type of eruption pattern, and location of the inferior alveolar nerve. This is all important in the removal of third molars.
It is believed third molars were much more functional with out ancestors, as they were needed to chew more foliage. As diets change, providing softer foods, jaws are changing and less room is available for wisdom’s to grow, so extraction is often the best option.
As we evolve, do you think it’s possible that in future generations may no longer develop wisdom teeth?