A molar is a tooth with a broad crown that is used to grind food and is located behind the premolars in the mouth.
Molars along with premolars make up the cheek teeth and are adapted to specific tasks. Molars have cusps that are shorter and blunter than other types of teeth howerver molars have multiple cusps that produce a larger chewing surface (or occlusal surface) that allows the teeth to grind solid food.
There are 12 molars three in each quadrant of the mouth. Molars can generally be placed in two main catagories the Maxillary (Upper jaw) molars and the Mandibular (lower jaw) molars and three sub catagories first second and thrid molars depending on their location in the mouth.
· Maxillary Molars
The maxillar molars help to perfom most of the mastication or chewing that occurs in the mouth. Because of their function the maxillary molars are the largest and strongest teeth in the upper jaw and as such maxillary molars have three roots that run through the tooth giving it maximum anchorage against the forces that try to unseat it. The maxillary first molar has five well cusps and is the largest of the molars. The maxillary second molar supplements the first molars function although its crown is shorter than the first molar and it only has four cusps. It does however have three roots to match the first molar. The maxillary third molar often appears as a development anomlay and is called the wisdom tooth. It differs considerably from other teeth in terms of size shape and position. This third molar supplements the function of the second.
· Mandibular Molars
The mandibular molars help to perfom the major work of the mastication or chewing that occurs in the mouth. Te mandibular molars are the largest and strongest teeth in the lower jaw and have two roots that run through the tooth giving it maximum anchorage against the forces that try to unseat it. The mandibular first molar has five well cusps and is the largest of the molars. The mandibular second molar supplements the first molars function is shorter in all aspects than the first molar and it only has four cusps.The second molar also has two roots to match the first molar but these roots are less separted than the first molar. The mandibular third molar often appears as a development anomlay and is called the wisdom tooth. It differs considerably from other teeth in terms of size shape and position. This third molar supplements the function of the second.
Dental problems with molar teeth generally take the form of an impacted tooth. Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last of the permanent teeth to develop often not erupting until the late teens or early twenties. This delay means that by the time they are ready to erupt there is often no room in the mouth left for them. For this reason they often become impacted where they have failed to fully erupt into their proper place in the mouth.
There are different types of impacted teeth including Mesially impacted (where the wisdom teeth are angled forward towards the front of the mouth) Vertically impacted Horizontally impacted and Distally impacted
Symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth may include:Pain in the back of the jaw Bad taste Facial swelling (in severe cases)
Usually dentists opt to extract impacted wisdom teeth. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can lead to other problems ranging from tooth decay to gum disease and wisdom teeth that have not erupted at all can lead to cysts tumours and tooth crowing.
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