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Wisdom Teeth; What you Need to Know !


wisdom tooth extraction singapore

Humans have different types of teeth, which erupt at different stages in life. The first ones to appear are the incisors, then the canines, premolars and finally, the wisdom teeth. While most of the teeth tend to erupt during the early years of life, the wisdom teeth often erupt during the “wisdom years”. No, the wisdom teeth do not make you wiser! However, they tend to erupt at a stage in life when one is expected to gain sufficient wisdom and maturity. 

What are Wisdom Teeth?

A wisdom tooth has the same shape and function as the molar teeth - they are used for grinding and crushing harder food particles into smaller chunks which can be easily assimilated by our digestive system. The wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt in the oral cavity and are present at the back of the mouth. In fact, they are the continuation of the molar teeth, and scientifically, they are known as the third molars. Each jaw has two wisdom teeth - one on either side.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Appear?

Unlike the other permanent teeth, there is a considerable variation in the wisdom teeth’ eruption time. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the wisdom teeth tend to erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. However, in some cases, they may appear as late as 23 or 25 years of age.

What is the Function of the Wisdom Teeth?

When they come through normally, the wisdom teeth work with the other molar teeth in chewing food. However, they are not really needed for chewing. “Then why do they erupt?” you might ask! The answer lies in evolution. Our ancestors used to eat a diet that was harder and abrasive to the teeth. Therefore, they required at least three molar teeth to chew the food properly. However, the diet in the modern world has changed drastically. Today, we eat processed, softer food that does not require much grinding for assimilation. Hence, the wisdom teeth are not needed for optimal digestion.

Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?

It is not necessary for everyone to have wisdom teeth. However, some people do have wisdom teeth, but they are not visible in the oral cavity. When this happens, they are said to have been impacted.

Did you know that the wisdom teeth are one of the most commonly impacted teeth in the entire permanent dentition? A tooth is said to have become impacted if it fails to erupt entirely into the oral cavity. In some cases, the wisdom teeth remain entirely inside the jaw bone and never erupt. In other instances, a wisdom tooth only erupts halfway through - mostly due to the lack of space available for them to erupt completely.

Do Wisdom Teeth Cause any Problem?

Normally, wisdom teeth do not cause any problem - even if they are impacted. However, the impacted ones are at a higher risk of causing problems such as pain, swelling or inflammation. Being at the back of the mouth, they are sometimes difficult to clean and may cause teeth cavities and periodontal infections in the neighbouring teeth.

Did you know that each year, about 10 million wisdom teeth are removed in the US for various reasons?

Do All Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Extracted?

Wisdom teeth do not need to be removed if they are not causing any problems. Your dentist can advise you whether wisdom tooth extraction is necessary after a thorough clinical examination. Your dentist will recommend wisdom tooth removal if he or she suspects that it can damage the neighbouring teeth as well. The American Dental Association recommends that the wisdom teeth which are not removed must be monitored regularly at each checkup appointment.

Impacted wisdom tooth surgery

How Much Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost?

Wisdom tooth removal is usually performed by specialist oral surgeons. The actual cost of treatment depends on various factors such as the severity of the impaction and the complexity of the procedure. However, there is no need to worry. If you are in Singapore, you can claim for your wisdom tooth surgery through Medisave - regardless of whether you are a local or a PR holder. The average cost of wisdom tooth removal usually varies between SGD $650 to 1250. However, the treatment cost is fully claimable through Medisave.

Like the other human teeth, wisdom teeth are less likely to cause any problem if you maintain optimal oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing, and visit your dentist regularly. However, you should take extra care while cleaning the wisdom teeth as they are difficult to clean due to their backward location in the mouth and irregular angulation. 

impacted wisdom tooth

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