Have you ever wondered how many wisdom teeth you have? Or why they are called wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are your third molars, and most people have four of them. They typically appear in your late teens or early twenties, and they can cause a lot of problems if they are not taken care of properly. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about wisdom teeth, how many you have, and why they are important.
The Anatomy of Teeth
Before we dive into wisdom teeth, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of teeth. Your mouth has four different types of teeth, which are:
- Incisors: They are the front teeth and have a flat, chisel-shaped edge that cuts food.
- Canines: They are pointed teeth located next to the incisors and are used for tearing food.
- Premolars: They are located between canines and molars and have two cusps, which are used for crushing and grinding food.
- Molars: They are large teeth located at the back of your mouth and have four or five cusps. They are also used for crushing and grinding food.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one each in the farthest corners of the upper and lower jaws. In some instances, people may have a few, all, or none of their wisdom teeth.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Erupt?
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. However, they may also appear much later or never at all. When wisdom teeth erupt, they often cause discomfort or pain, which is generally due to the lack of space in the mouth to accommodate these additional teeth.
How Many Wisdom Teeth Do You Have?
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of their mouth. However, it’s essential to note that some people may have less or none at all. The number of wisdom teeth that an individual has depends on various factors, such as genetics, ethnicity, and evolution.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Called Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are called “wisdom teeth” because they usually appear during young adulthood, which is the time when people are said to gain more wisdom. In ancient times, they were also associated with wisdom because they were the last set of teeth to develop, indicating that the person had reached maturity or adulthood.
What Problems Do Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Wisdom teeth can cause various problems, such as:
- Crowding: Wisdom teeth may cause crowding, which can lead to overlapping and crooked teeth.
- Infection: Wisdom teeth that are impacted or partially erupted can cause gum infection or periodontitis, a severe gum disease that can lead to tooth decay and loss of bone tissue that supports the teeth.
- Cysts or tumors: Wisdom teeth can cause the formation of cysts or tumors, which can damage the jawbone and teeth.
- Tooth decay: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, making them challenging to reach while brushing and flossing. As a result, many people develop tooth decay and cavities in their wisdom teeth.
- Pain and discomfort: Wisdom teeth often cause pain, discomfort, and swelling as they try to erupt through the gums.
Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If your wisdom teeth are not causing any problems, they may not need to be removed. However, if you experience any of the above problems, your dentist may recommend their removal through wisdom teeth extraction surgery.
The Removal Process
The removal process of wisdom teeth involves the following steps:
- An anesthetic is administered to the patient to prevent any pain during the procedure.
- The dentist will make an incision in the gums to access the wisdom teeth.
- If the tooth is not fully erupted, the dentist will remove any bone that covers the tooth’s crown.
- The dentist will then cut the tooth into smaller pieces to remove it more easily.
- The area will be cleaned and stitched, and patients are advised to follow the post-operative instructions carefully.
Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction typically takes about a week, and patients are advised to do the following:
- Rest for a few days after the surgery.
- Avoid vigorous activities for at least 24 to 48 hours after the surgery.
- Avoid smoking for at least 24 to 48 hours after the surgery, as it can slow down the healing process.
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Take painkillers as prescribed by the dentist.
- Stick to soft foods and drink plenty of fluids.
- Brush your teeth gently, avoiding the surgical area.
- Do not use mouthwash until the surgical area heals completely.
Wisdom teeth can cause various problems, and in some cases, they need to be removed. If you experience any discomfort, pain or any of the other issues discussed above, seek advice from your dentist. Regular checkups and dental care can prevent many of the problems associated with wisdom teeth and ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are wisdom teeth so painful?
Wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort because they are the last teeth to develop and have to push through the gums to erupt. In addition, the mouth often does not have enough space for wisdom teeth, which can lead to crowding, impaction, and swelling.
2. Can you get infected wisdom teeth without pain?
Yes, wisdom teeth can become infected without causing any pain. However, common signs of infection include swollen, tender gums, pus or discharge in or around the tooth, bad breath, and a sour taste in your mouth.
3. Can you live without wisdom teeth?
Yes, many people do not develop wisdom teeth, and they can lead a healthy life without them. If you have wisdom teeth, but they are not causing any problems, you may not need to have them removed.
4. How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth extraction?
Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction typically takes about a week, and patients are advised to follow their dentists’ post-operative instructions carefully. The healing process can vary depending on the number of teeth extracted, the complexity of the procedure, and the patient’s age and health status.
5. Does everyone get wisdom teeth?
No, not everyone develops wisdom teeth. The absence of wisdom teeth is more common among some ethnic groups, such as the Inuit and Native Americans.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Wisdom Teeth Removal: What You Need to Know. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic Staff. Wisdom Teeth. Cleveland Clinic; 2021.
- American Dental Association. Wisdom Teeth. American Dental Association; 2021.
- NHS. Wisdom Tooth Removal. NHS; 2021.