Lesson 3


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Read the text carefully. Pay attention to words in the bold print

"Wisdom teeth" are a type of molar. Molars are the chewing teeth found furthest in the back of the mouth. A person's third molars are their wisdom teeth. A person's third molars will come into place right behind their second molars (if there is room for them and they are aligned properly). With most people, thiseruption process takes place during their late teens or early twenties.

People usually have four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. If they don't, it's due to their genetic makeup.

Wisdom teeth are impacted very frequently. In dental terminology, an "impacted" tooth refers to a tooth that has failed to emerge fully into its expected position. This failure to erupt properly might occur because there is not enough room in the person's jaw to accommodate the tooth, the tooth's eruption path isobstructed by other teeth or because the angulation of the impacted tooth is improper.

Dentists use a number of terms, in combination, to describe the positioning of impacted wisdom teeth. They are mesial, distal, horizontal, vertical, soft-tissue and bony. The terms mesial, distal, horizontal and vertical refer to the general angulation of the impacted tooth. The term "mesial" means that the tooth is angled forward, toward the front of the mouth. This is the most common type of impaction.

The other types of impactions, in order of frequency of occurrence, are the vertical, horizontal, and distal types. The term "distal" means that the tooth's angulation is directed towards the rear of the mouth. Vertically and horizontally positioned impacted wisdom teeth are, respectively, oriented either upright or lying on their side.

In addition to this classification, wisdom teeth are also described as soft tissue or bony impactions. A "soft tissue" impaction is one where the upper portion of a wisdom tooth (the tooth's crown) has penetratedthrough the bone, but has not yet erupted fully through the gums. The term "bony" impaction indicates that the wisdom tooth is still encased in the jaw's bone.

The reason why some wisdom teeth are impacted is not an easy question to answer. The professional literature suggests a few various causes but a primary cause of wisdom tooth impaction is simply that there is inadequate jawbone space behind the person's second molar. Why this lack of space exists is not fully understood, however there does seem to be a correlation between large tooth size, the presence of generalized tooth crowding, and having impacted wisdom teeth.

The most common question concerned with wisdom teeth is about their extraction. Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. However, in some situations this procedure is highly recommended i.e. infection associated with a wisdom tooth, complications associated with tooth decay, gum disease, cyst, tumors, risk of damage to adjacent teeth, chronic pain or discomfort.


accommodate – zmieścić, pomieścić 
adjacent – przyległy 
aligned – wyrównany, prosty
angulation –zgięcie, zagięcie, kąt nachylenia 
be due to – z powodu (czegoś) 
bony – kostny 
chew – żuć 
come into place – pojawić się 
complication – powikłanie 
correlation – zależność 
crowding – stłoczenie, ścieśnienie 
distal – dalszy 
emerge – pojawić się, wyjść 
encased – otoczony, obramowany 
erupt – wyżynać się 
vertical – pionowy
frequently – często 
fail – nie udać się 
furthest – najdalszy
horizontal – poziomy
impacted tooth – ząb wklinowany 
inadequate – niewystarczający 
lower – dolny 
mesial – bliższy, środkowy 
molar – trzonowy, ząb trzonowy 
obstructed – zablokowany 
properly – właściwie
rear – tylny
soft-tissue – tkanka miękka
through – przez
upper – górny

Decide if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE

  1. The information about number of wisdom teeth is carried in our genes.
  2. All wisdom teeth are impacted in some way i.e. we can observe either mesial, vertical, distal or horizontal impaction in every patient.
  3. The second most common form of wisdom teeth impaction is distal form.
  4. Vertically impacted wisdom teeth are oriented towards the side.
  5. The tooth’s crown describes the bottom part of the tooth.
  6. Lack of proper jawbone space behind the second molar is one of the most common reasons of impacted wisdom teeth.

Complete the sentences with words from the table

  1. Wisdom teeth present potential problems when they are _______________.
  2. Poor positioning of wisdom teeth can _______________ or damage ________________ teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
  3. Dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that troublesome wisdom teeth be ________________ even before problems develop.
  4. The difficulty of cleaning impacted wisdom teeth also makes them a vulnerable for the development of a painful, ____________________ gum condition called pericoronitis.
  5. Most wisdom tooth extractions don't result in long-term __________________.
  6. A full _________________ _____________________ is a condition in which the tooth is fully encased in the jawbone.

Match questions that your patient may ask you with your possible answers

Lesson 3 - answers Lesson 3 - answers