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Wisdom Teeth:All You Need to Know

It is no surprise that most us relate pain, surgery and a visit to the dentist with the growth of wisdom teeth. It happens because most people are not aware of the facts related to these teeth.

Dental Health By Vasudha Bhat / Jan 27, 2015

The Lesser Known Truths

Pain, a visit to the dentist, surgical procedures, etc are few things that strike our mind when we hear begin to feel the growth of a wisdom tooth. A wisdom tooth is usually removed when it gets painful or discomforting which gives your face a squirrel-like look. Also, when you have a wisdom tooth you get to eat a lot of ice creams and milkshake. But, beside the fun elements of having a wisdom tooth, there are many other surprising facts related to it. Image courtesy: Getty Images

The Name

The wisdom tooth gets its name because of the age at which it typically grows. Although the dental jargon addresses them as third molars, we love to call them the `wisdom teeth’. Ever wondered why? It is because of the reason that these teeth do not grow out until the dental arch becomes larger, which is around the age of 17-25, usually thought to be the age of wisdom.

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Wisdom Teeth are Removed

The surgeons of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial say that it is estimated that 85 percent of the wisdom teeth need to be removed. The reason behind this could be that these teeth are impacted and they are located where it is very difficult to reach and clean, which can lead to bacterial infection.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Some People are Born to Never have Wisdom Teeth

As many as 35 percent people are born to never have wisdom teeth. The debate over its reason is still going on. Efforts are being made to understand whether it is the evolution or culture which causes people to grow without third molars. The need for these teeth for the survival of humans is diminishing. But some researchers have studied the link between how different cultures use their jaws and if they have teeth or not.

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Studies to Prevent the Growth is Going on

Wisdom teeth are the only teeth which do not form inside the womb. The need to have them removed is making the researchers look for ways to prevent the growth altogether.

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Wisdom Teeth can Produce Stem Cells

It was found by the Japanese researchers in 2008 that induced pluripotent stem cell can be harvested from wisdom teeth. Therefore, wisdom teeth can be saved for potential need for stem cells later in life.

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Impacted Wisdom Teeth are Common

At least 9 out of 10 people have one impacted wisdom tooth. When there isn’t enough place for a tooth to grow fully in the mouth, it is called impacted tooth. In case they are left inside the mouth, they can damage the neighbouring teeth or become infected due to difficulty in reaching and cleaning the area of the mouth and gums.

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Diet and Dental Work may Play Role in Impacted Wisdom Tooth

People in primitive times had much more wear and tear caused to their teeth by their tough diet. This lead to damage that caused the teeth to drift creating space for third molars. It is believed by anthropologists that wisdom teeth were able to emerge into oral cavity at around the same time as the other permanent teeth because of the lack of obstacles. Although the diet in recent times has become a lot easier on teeth there are some major dental care options like braces and retainers which leave no space for the third molars. Thus, the wisdom teeth have to wait for the dental arch to grow larger before they emerge if there is any space. However, if there is no space, the wisdom tooth may become impacted and may need to be removed surgically.

Image courtesy: Getty Images


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