Nov 18, 2012

Wisdom Teeth Aren’t That Smart

Wisdom teeth are comprised of the third molars, thus named because they are the rearmost of the set of three molars that reside in the upper and lower jaw:

wisdom-teeth-rearmost

wisdom-tooth-diagram

Molars mean millstone in Latin, which describes the grinding food action that is their primary function in the mouth.

The wisdom teeth are the last to emerge of the molars, typically between the ages of 16-25. But for teeth that are supposed to reflect the wisdom of your age, they sure are dumb. Here are just a few things that can go wrong:

  • They can fail to emerge through the gum line, facing forward
  • They can fail to emerge through the gum line, facing back
  • They can fail to emerge through the gum line, growing into the molar next to them
  • They can fail to emerge through the gum line
  • They can only partially emerge through the gum line

impacted-molars

Mesioangular-molar

Even if your wisdom teeth grow in as expected, they can be rife with issues. They can cause rampant infections due to food particles stuck in the scary place between the tooth and the rear jaw.

Wisdom teeth can also be misaligned, rubbing against the tongue, or rubbing against the cheek, or rubbing against other teeth, or crowding out previously purchased orthodontia.

bossys-daughter-wisdom-teeth

Maybe Bossy’s mother had it right when, describing teeth in general, she exclaimed, “Bad design!”

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