Scientific name for ” wisdom teeth “: “Dens sapientiae” or “Dens serotinus”


The third molar, known as the wisdom tooth, is the third molar in each quadrant of the human dentition, located posteriorly on the arch.

From the age of 8-10 years, the presence or absence of wisdom tooth buds can be seen on X-rays.

At 12 years of age the crown is formed and at 17-18 years of age, the average age of eruption, a wisdom tooth has fully developed roots.

At the age of 25, 90% of wisdom teeth, which have sufficient space on the dental arch, begin to erupt.

In some people, however, they appear later or not at all. Statistics show that 20-25% of the population do not have this tooth bud. In general, an adult has four wisdom molars, one wisdom tooth in each quadrant, but there are cases where there may be fewer or even more (in this case, they are called supernumerary teeth).

In the past, wisdom teeth were used to help chew very hard foods, so our predecessors had much more developed jaws and there was room on the arch for all the teeth. Due to the radical change in the human diet, eating much softer foods, the jaws began to shrink, but the number of teeth on the arch remained the same.

So, a wisdom tooth, because it erupts last, if it does not have enough room on the arch, in an attempt to create the necessary space, changes the position on the arch of the other teeth already erupted, crowding them.

Sometimes the arches are not spacious enough for the wisdom molars to erupt, they remain in the bone, called an impacted molar. At the same time, he may find only a small space in which to partially erupt, and remains semi-included.

Due to the lack of space, a wisdom tooth produces, in most cases, pain, infection, injury to the other teeth on the arch, or it can be asymptomatic, producing, however, alteration of the position on the arch of the other teeth present, leading, in particular, to rotation, malposition and crowding of the frontal group.

We consider that wisdom molars should be extracted when they are included or semi-included on the arch in order to avoid the possibility of complications (cysts, tumors, injury to adjacent dental units, etc.) The reasons why we recommend wisdom molar extraction:

  • If a wisdom tooth presents painful symptoms, if it becomes infected, if it is decayed, if its posterior position hinders treatment possibilities, extraction is the recommended option.

  • A semi-erupted wisdom tooth has a higher risk of infection and decay over time, so extraction is often indicated.

  • Included molars are often at high risk of developing pathologies such as tumours, cysts, can cause erosion of adjacent teeth, therefore it is better to prevent these pathologies by extraction.

  • From an orthodontic point of view, if wisdom teeth interfere with the orthodontic treatment plan, preventing its successful completion, extraction of the third molar is recommended.

If, however, it is decided to keep the included, asymptomatic wisdom molars, it is recommended:

  • Periodic radiographic check (every 3-4 years) of the molar evolution, in order to discover, early on, the possibility of the occurrence of the complications listed above.

  • Painful symptomatology may appear long after the onset of a problem, so that at the time of its appearance there is already significant damage, which may be irreversible.

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