What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are another name for any one of four third molars found in the permanent dentition. These teeth are the last or most posterior teeth in the dental arch. Although most people have wisdom teeth, it is possible for some or all of the third molars to never develop. It is also possible for a person to have more than four wisdom teeth. In many individuals, the wisdom teeth aren’t visible because they have become impacted (not normally erupted through the gums) under the gingival tissue.
How do I know if I have wisdom teeth?
You know if you have wisdom teeth by examining your mouth and finding three permanent molars in each dental quadrant. However, if the tooth is impacted under the tissue, presence of the tooth needs to be verified by a radiograph. A panoramic radiograph is usually the preferred X-ray to help assess the angle of eruption and state of development of the tooth. Most wisdom teeth can be visualized erupting through the gingiva in early adulthood, between the ages of 16 to 23. Sometimes, a person will feel the effects of the wisdom teeth before they are able to visualize them in their mouth. Erupting wisdom teeth will usually produce a feeling of pressure or dull throbbing in the back of the jaws.
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