Wisdom Teeth

Third molar teeth, or wisdom teeth, are permanent teeth that are the last teeth to grow into the mouth. People would normally develop wisdom teeth between the ages of 18 to 24. We typically have four wisdom teeth: two on each side of the mouth, i.e., one on the bottom jaw and one on the top jaw.

display four wisdom teeth over x-ray

Some people develop less than four wisdom teeth, but others can develop more, although this is rare. These teeth serve a purpose for biting and chewing just like permanent teeth. Conversely, the majority of the wisdom teeth do not grow properly into the mouth.

In some cases, a wisdom tooth that fails to grow properly in the mouth can become stuck either under the gum or as it pushes through the gum. This is referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth. In some cases, the wisdom tooth will not become impacted but will grow and function normally.

The impacted and non-impacted wisdom teeth can equally cause problems for people. In some cases, symptoms such as pain and swelling may be noted. However, other wisdom teeth may feature no symptoms at all but will still cause problems inside the mouth.

THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY WISDOM TEETH

• Infections of the gum around the wisdom tooth, known as pericoronitis.
• Tooth decay, e.g., dental caries, which can occur in the wisdom tooth.
• Gum disease, e.g., periodontal disease
• Cyst-like formations

There can be some complexity in the procedure of wisdom tooth removal, but in some cases, wisdom tooth can be removed effortlessly without the need for cutting the gum or drilling.