From childhood to adolescence, teeth erupt in different stages: first incisors, then canines, premolars and molars and, finally, wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth are the farthest teeth in the dental arches and generally, they are the last ones to come out. There are four wisdom molar teeth, 2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw one on each side.
For the normal eruption to happen, there must be sufficient growth at the back of the jaw to accommodate these teeth.
In quite a few cases, wisdom teeth fail to erupt completely (all four), impacting its growth.
Wisdom teeth do not participate in the chewing process as other teeth do, so now they have been classified as vestigial organs.
Complications Associated with Wisdom Molars
Completely erupted wisdom molars seen in the lower jaw are covered by a gum tissue called operculum underneath where the food debris gets collected causing inflammation called pericoronitis.
It leads to severe pain, difficulty in opening the mouth, chewing and acute symptoms like lymph node swelling and fever.
Fully erupted upper wisdom teeth project towards the cheek and irritate the cheek mucosa, while semi erupted wisdom molars are very difficult to clean and maintain. This can lead to decaying of adjacent molars also.
Wisdom molars that fail to emerge in the mouth, but are visible in the jaw bone are called Time Bombs as they can lead to cysts, tumour or even eat into the 2nd molar tooth.
Wisdom teeth are removed in case of extreme pain, inflammation, decay or hard to clean or malpositioned. The need to extract wisdom teeth is mainly to prevent damage to other molars and formation of cysts.
If you are facing issues with your wisdom teeth, see your dentist for a proper diagnosis and medication.