Wisdom tooth is known as Mandibular Third Molar. Wisdom tooth is located distally away from second molar. In permanent dentition, no other tooth is located posterior to Wisdom Tooth i.e. it is the last tooth. One gets 4 wisdom teeth and every quadrant has one wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth usually fully grow in the mouth between the ages of 16-25 years with 17-21 years band being most common. Wisdom Tooth drives the name of wisdom tooth by relating it with this age as it is generally believed that one gets wisdom by this age and therefore it became the saying that when these third mandibular molars grow in, one gets the wisdom thereby leading these teeth to be called as wisdom teeth. As stated above, commonly we have 4 wisdom teeth but sometimes one or two wisdom teeth don’t grow in. This is called as Hypodontia. Also in some cases, there is extra tooth i.e. the number is more than 4, in that case it is called supernumerary tooth.

 
 

Wisdom teeth (Third Mandibular Molars) straightway grow in as permanent teeth and in baby teeth there are no third mandibular molars. The wisdom teeth act the same way as other molars, with principal functionality of grinding during mastication of food i.e. chewing of food. In current times the growing in of wisdom teeth creates many problems for a person because over the centuries, the eating habits of man have changed from raw food to well cooked food, which requires much less effort to chew and due to this fact of evolution of man, the jaw size has decreased. This decreased jaw size creates problem for the wisdom teeth to grow in because of reduced space for their eruption and due to this they put pressure on the front molars by pushing them. This pushing adversely affects the other teeth which lead to pain and swelling. This condition is called impaction of wisdom teeth and to get rid of these problems, the dentist’s advice the patients to get them extracted.

 

Impaction of Wisdom Teeth

 
A wisdom tooth is treated as Impacted in condition when it does not have enough space to grow in and remains buried in the gums due to decreased jaw size. The impaction of Wisdom Teeth is of different types. These are stated as under:
 
Mesioangular Impaction – This type of impaction is most common. This condition occurs when the wisdom tooth is angulated towards the midline. 

Vertical Impaction – Wisdom tooth is called as vertically impacted when it is straight but does not have sufficient space to erupt. This is second most common type of impaction for wisdom teeth.

Distoangular Impaction - This condition occurs when the wisdom tooth is angulated towards the back of the teeth. Distoangular wisdom tooth is easy to extract in maxilla but difficult in the mandible. 

Horizontal Impaction – When the wisdom tooth is lying horizontally at 90 degrees towards the root of second molars, it is called to horizontally impacted. This type of impaction of wisdom teeth is least common.

Bony Impaction - If the wisdom tooth has insufficient space to erupt and is completely inside the bone it is called as bony impaction of wisdom tooth. 

Soft Tissue Impaction – When the wisdom tooth grows out of bone but has not come out of soft tissue then it is called Soft Tissue Impaction of Wisdom Tooth.

Pericoronitis

 

This is another condition related with wisdom tooth is Pericoronitis. It happens when wisdom tooth is not fully erupted and the gum tissue is covering the occlusal surface (chewing surface). This soft tissue flap is called as Operculum. It is very difficult to clean the tooth with the operculum as the food gets impacted in it causing the infection in the gum around the crown of the tooth. This infection of gums is called as pericoronitis. This is a common problem which gets exaggerated by biting from the opposite tooth as it causes the trauma to the operculum. In the event of persistence of this condition, the dentist recommends the extraction of the wisdom tooth. The most common symptoms of pericoronitis are the swelling, redness of the area, difficulty in opening the mouth, bad taste, smell and pain that can go till neck. If left untreated it can cause severe infection. 

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Comments

  • Brittany

    Brittany 17 - July - 2014, at 00:13 AM

  • So I have all of my wisdom teeth coming in. I am 23 now and the bottom 2 have been coming in since I was 17. I went to the dentist today because the bottom right one has been in debilitating pain and it has a flap of gum just lying over it. Well he wants to take it out but cant see me to do until 2 weeks from now. Not only can I not deal with the pain that long but I just woke up from a nap and went in the bathroom to take a closer look at it myself with a flashlight and when I touched (and I mean just barely touched it) green stuff starting just pouring out from around the tooth. Not only did this dentist not call me in anything for the pain he didn't give me antibiotics. What do I do? And how bad can this infection hurt me if I don't get antibiotics?

  • Kendra

    Kendra 02 - May - 2014, at 12:53 PM

  • What if your back molars have a lot of cavities and your wisdom teeth are coming in. I can feel my top right wisdom tooth coming through my gums but most of the tooth is still covered by my gums. Wouldnt it just be easier to pull out the back molars that already have cavities to make room for the wisdom teeth? Also, due to a tight budget, which would be, for lack of a better term, cheaper? Yanking out the cavity ridden teeth or removing the wisdom teeth?

  • Kendra

    Kendra 02 - May - 2014, at 12:50 PM

  • What if your back molars have a lot of cavities and your wisdom teeth are coming in. I can feel my top right wisdom tooth coming through my gums but most of the tooth is still covered by my gums. Wouldnt it just be easier to pull out the back molars that already have cavities to make room for the wisdom teeth? Also, due to a tight budget, which would be, for lack of a better term, cheaper? Yanking out the cavity ridden teeth or removing the wisdom teeth?

  • Dr.Ritz

    Dr.Ritz 31 - May - 2012, at 22:22 PM

  • TAYLER, having pain and inability to open the mouth are some common symptoms associated with wisdom tooth. I suggest you to visit the dentist and get an Xray done to see which direction they are coming. As you said that one of the wisdom tooth is interfering with the cheek so in that case it is better to get it extracted...Also try maitain a good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and doing warm saline gargles...But do visit you dentist too.

  • Tyler

    Tyler 31 - May - 2012, at 17:17 PM

  • Well this may be kind of long, but im in urgent need need for info and help. For starters im 19. I had both my bottom wisdom's removed when i was 18..... no problems. My 2 top wisdom's have been coming in for a while and i had no problems with pain. But about a month and a half ago my top left side of my jaw near my ear really started to hurt. (Seems like the pain was at the hinge of my jaw). I could hardly move my jaw or bite. I toughed it out because it was finals week in college and i wasn't home to get it taken care of. The pain went away after about 3 weeks. (I have no idea if that was in any correlation to my wisdom teeth). Now my left side doesn't hurt at all, but now my right side top wisdom tooth is giving me problems. These last couple of days my gums around the tooth have been hurting quite a bit. Also, my tooth is coming in on an angle towards my cheek. The tooth seems to be poking the side of my cheek and really irritating it. (It looks like the tooth is leaving a little white whole where it is poking my cheek). I'm not totally sure if its the tooth poking my cheek or if its something else. From that i was wondering about my jaw problem i had on my left side, and now the cheek problem on my right side. Are these common wisdom teeth problems or could it be something else? I'm really getting paranoid of what it could be,and the pain is annoying. I hope its nothing serious, but I just wanted to get some advice before i see someone. Thanks!

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