Ever wondered why people refer to your picture-perfect smile as “showing all your 32”?
That is because adults have a complete set of 32 teeth, made of incisors, canines, pre-molars, and molars. Your wisdom teeth fall into the latter category and are located at the back of your mouth. This last set of teeth grows between the ages of 12 and 20. They are called “wisdom” teeth because they appear at a mature age.
In Season 2 Episode 8 of the Pepsodent Ghana Dental TV Show, Time with the Dentist, Dr. Gwendolyn Amarquaye-Bayitse dispels some myths about wisdom teeth.
The information you hear concerning wisdom teeth may come from friends, families, or hearsay. Some of these may be just buzz, myths, or facts, but it’s hard to tell — unless you’re getting the right information from your dentist or on Pepsodent Time with the Dentist.
Let’s bust some wisdom teeth myths:
Everyone has wisdom teeth: Not everyone has wisdom teeth. Some individuals may have one or two out of the four develop in the bone and eventually come out into the mouth. Others don’t have any at all. The best way to verify this is to have an x-ray of the jaws taken to show if there are wisdom teeth developing or not. Several factors account for this, including not having enough space at the rear of the jaws for the teeth to erupt easily through the gums. Some individuals are also never born with them.
You know if you have wisdom teeth: This is not always the case. Just because you can’t see your third molars doesn’t mean you don’t have them. The wisdom teeth may have developed in the jawbone but lack adequate space to come through into the oral cavity or they are positioned in the bone such that they are unable to come out into the oral cavity. They may also be surrounded or enclosed by the soft tissues of the gum, making it difficult to feel their presence. Only an x-ray can reveal possible hindrances to the eruption of the wisdom teeth.
If wisdom teeth are not removed, they will become impacted or cause crowding: Another myth you may have heard is that if the wisdom teeth are not removed, they will become impacted or cause crowding, and it is the reason many people require braces or orthodontic treatment. This is false. While wisdom teeth can be a factor in crowding of the teeth, discomfort, and pain in the jaw and so may have to be removed, some people have no issues with these teeth.
You must have your wisdom teeth removed: If your teeth develop and come out well-aligned and healthy there’s no reason to have them removed. Dr. Amarquaye-Bayitse explains, “They are only removed when their presence causes issues like pain and discomfort from an extensive cavity or persistent infection of the tissues around them or the situation where their inability to come out well aligned has the potential of affecting the other teeth in the mouth.”
Dr. Amarquaye-Bayitse recommends seeking a certified dentist’s opinion before considering wisdom teeth removal while rehashing the importance of brushing with fluoride toothpaste and regular dental examination.
We hope these four nuggets on wisdom teeth have erased any common and wrong misconceptions you may have had about wisdom teeth.
Keep watching Time With The Dentist. This is a dental TV show by Pepsodent in partnership with the Ghana Dental Association.
The show seeks to educate Ghanaians on basic oral hygiene routines, how to care for their teeth, and some myths and facts associated with maintaining good oral hygiene among others.
It airs weekly on GHOne TV. TV3, Adom TV, UTV, and MX24