WISDOM TOOTH

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. This generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the "Age of Wisdom."
Anthropologists note that the rough diet of early humans resulted in the excessive wear of their teeth. Normal drifting of the teeth to compensate for this wear ensured that space was available for most wisdom teeth to erupt by adolescence. The modern diet, which is much softer, and the popularity of orthodontic tooth straightening procedures produce a fuller dental arch, which quite commonly doesn't leave room for the wisdom teeth to erupt, thereby setting the stage for problems when the final four molars enter the mouth.
Wisdom teeth are extracted for two general reasons: either the wisdom teeth have already become impacted, or the wisdom teeth could potentially become problematic if not extracted. Potential problems caused by the presence of properly grown-in wisdom teeth include infections caused by food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth where regular brushing and flossing is difficult and ineffective. Such infections may be frequent, and cause considerable pain and medical danger. Other reasons wisdom teeth are removed include misalignment, which rubs up against the tongue or cheek causing pain, potential crowding or malocclusion of the remaining teeth (a result of there being not enough room on the jaw or in the mouth), as well as orthodontics. PARTIAL ERUPTION:
Sometimes the wisdom tooth teeth fail to erupt completely through the gum bed and the gum at the back of the wisdom tooth teeth extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap or lid around the teeth called an operculum. Teeth covered by an operculum are difficult to clean properly.

Additional cleaning techniques can include using a needle-less plastic syringe to vigorously wash the teeth with moderately pressurized water or conduct a gentle hydrogen peroxide rinse.

However, debris and bacteria can easily accumulate under an operculum, which may cause pericoronitis, a common infection problem in young adults with partial impactions that is often exacerbated by occlusion with opposing third or second molars. Common symptoms include a swelling and redness of the gum around the eruption site, difficulty in opening the mouth, a bad odor or taste in the mouth, and pain in the general area which may also run down the entire lower jaw or possibly the neck. Untreated pericoronitis can progress to a more severe infection.

If the operculum does not disappear, recommended treatment is extraction of the wisdom tooth. An alternative treatment involving removal of the operculum, called operculectomy, has been advocated. There is a high risk of permanent or temporary numbness of the tongue due to damage of the nerve with this treatment and it is no longer recommended as a standard treatment in oral surgery.

HOW SERIOUS IS AN IMPACTED TOOTH?
Sometimes the wisdom tooth teeth fail to erupt completely through the gum bed and the gum at the back of the wisdom tooth teeth extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap or lid around the teeth called an operculum. Teeth covered by an operculum are difficult to clean properly.

Impacted teeth can be painful and lead to infection.They may also crowd or damage adjacent teeth or roots

More serious problems may occur if the sack surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. As the cyst grows it may hollow out the jaw and permanently damage adjacent teeth, the surrounding bone and nerves. If a cyst goes untreated, a tumor may develop from its walls and a more serious surgical procedure may be required to remove it.


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