The process of teeth eruption starts as early as 6 months of age. The wisdom teeth or the third molars (2 upper and 2 lower) usually appear anytime between the ages of 17-25 years. The growth of these four molars is unique for everyone. They could come into position completely or they could come out partially .
The wisdom teeth are located in the most posterior part of the jaws. They were easily accommodated into the larger jaws of our ancestors and they were very much necessary to chew and break down the uncooked meat. In the process of evolution though, we as humans already have a set of 28 teeth that are more than sufficient to chew our cooked food. Our jaw sizes also do not accommodate the wisdom teeth for all, hence causing only partial eruption of the tooth. As we evolve, the future generations may not have any wisdom teeth at all.
Wisdom teeth are the only set of teeth that have many MYTHS associated with them. The most common one is that “Wisdom tooth brings wisdom along with it and if I get it removed, I’ll lose my wisdom.” It is completely false. We get these teeth in our adulthood, when we are wise enough to make our own decisions. Hence the name “WISDOM” teeth
There are many myths related to the dental treatment for wisdom teeth. Here are few of the myths and their corresponding facts
Myth: Everyone has a Wisdom tooth
FACT: Approximately 37% people have less than four wisdom teeth. People can have one, two, three wisdom teeth or none at all. It usually depends on the genetic quotient of the person or the environment. Some wisdom teeth remain hidden under the gums and jaw bone and are visible only through X-rays
Myth: Wisdom teeth always need to be extracted
FACT: Unless the wisdom teeth lead to any pain or discomfort, they do not need to be extracted. If the mouth has space for the wisdom teeth, they grow without any trouble. If the person suffers with challenges like tooth or jaw pain, headache, radiating pain to the ear, food impaction or swollen gums, the advice from a dentist is imperative, in which case the patient might require extraction of the wisdom tooth causing trouble.
Myth: Wisdom teeth extraction is a major surgery
FACT: Not all wisdom teeth extractions require surgery. If the teeth are impacted under the gum with a lot of bone coverage, then a minor surgery is required under local anaesthesia.
Myth: Getting my wisdom tooth removed is painful
FACT: The process of removing a wisdom tooth is not painful since it is done under local anaesthesia, but the recovery process takes few days. Pain can completely be controlled with the right pain killers. The person needs to eat soft food and liquids for a couple of days. There might be a swelling on that side of the face. Within 3-5 days the person can get back to regular eating habits.
Myth: Wisdom teeth cause crowding of front teeth
FACT: There is no such evidence that wisdom teeth cause crowding of front teeth. If there is enough space for wisdom teeth, they don’t create any pressure on the other teeth. People who were treated with teeth braces might need to get an opinion from their dentist, as they require to wear their retainers to avoid any relapses.
Having wisdom teeth completes the process of teeth eruption in the mouth. They do come along with some challenges for few, not all. A good diagnosis and treatment by the dentist can make the process easier.