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Wisdom teeth are your last chewing molars at the back of the mouth. They are 4 in number - one on either side in upper and lower jaws. They are not present in many or may be present in the bone but not come out into the mouth. If they do, wisdom teeth usually come out between 18 to 25 years of age. Two wisdom teeth problems are quite common - swelling of the gums of the lower wisdom teeth when they are trying to come out, and decay or cavities in the wisdom teeth. 
What is a wisdom tooth? 
Over many thousands of years, as we have evolved from our ancestor humans, our jaw size has grown smaller but the size and number of teeth continues to be the same. Since the wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come out into the mouth, they do not find adequate space to come out in the shorter jaws. They try to push their way out in all possible ways. In addition, wisdom teeth, being situated at the last, are also hard to reach with a normal toothbrush. Inadequate oral hygiene in these teeth causes wisdom teeth problems. 
Why do I have a wisdom tooth problem? 
If your wisdom tooth is painful for the first time when it is trying to come out, we need to assess if if it has sufficeint space to come out. The swollen gums need to be cleaned and if there are other sharp teeth hurting the swollen gums, they need to be rounded off. If we feel the teeth may come out normally in the future, no other treatment is done and medications are prescribed for the infected gums. If the teeth are unlikely to come out fully, or if the wisdom tooth becomes painful every few months, then it is better to have them removed. 
What is the solution? 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  1. Can fillings and RCT be done for wisdom teeth? - For wisdom teeth with cavities, fillings or root canal treatment can be done as per the need. The procedure and materials used are the same as any other tooth. The only constraint is feasibility. Because of its position at the back of the mouth and close to cheeks and tongue, it is not always possible to get good access for the dental instruments. 
  2. Should I first try some pain killers to see if the wisdom tooth pain subsides rather than seeing the dentist? - Wisdom teeth infections can quickly spread into your cheeks, neck and throat and become serious - even life threatening if unattended to. Because wisdom teeth are hard to reach to maintain good hygiene on your own, you must see a dentist at the earliest. 
  3. Why are wisdom teeth called wisdom teeth? - The reason to the tag of "wisdom tooth" lies with the age of their eruption. Wisdom teeth normally come out into the mouth in the late teens or early 20's, which is also the age when a child is maturing psychologically into an adult.