Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. Often there is insufficient space for these teeth to come into position in proper alignment. They are termed ‘impacted' if the teeth do not come into your dental arch properly. The number of wisdom teeth that people have varies but four is most common (two each jaw). Most patients are aware of their wisdom teeth as they start to come through and cause pain. This usually presents between ages 16-25 but may present at any time.
Wisdom teeth are often painful but they can also show no symptoms despite having disease. Examples of disease include:
Untreatable tooth decay
Inflammation or infection of the gum overlying the erupting teeth
Damage to the adjacent teeth
Cysts or tumours around the teeth
Inability to open or chew properly
Severe infection with swelling of the face
Or, if the tooth is in the way for other dental treatment to be carried out.
It is therefore advisable to have regular check-ups and radiographs with your dental practitioner to check on the status of your wisdom teeth.
It may be recommended that your wisdom teeth (one or more) be removed. You may be referred to an Oral Surgeon for this procedure by your dental practitioner. This is usually dependent on the difficulty of your particular teeth, the experience of your practitioner, or if you would prefer to see a specialist who does this procedure all day everyday. Treatment may be done under local anaesthetic, sedation or general anaesthetic. Oral Surgeons have all options available for you.