Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars)

Wisdom teeth, or the third molar teeth, are the teeth that show the most variety in the adult mouth. There are four of them, one in each quadrant of the mouth (upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right). A wisdom tooth is usually the last tooth to erupt in a quadrant, generally between the age of 17 and 24.

One of the most common tooth extractions is wisdom tooth removal.

Whether the wisdom teeth need to be extracted or not depends on the position of the tooth in the mouth. In some rare cases, the third molars do not form at all or even rarer, and if space permits, a fourth molar may erupt after!

In most people the wisdom teeth do form. However, they may not erupt properly if there is inadequate space. Improperly positioned wisdom teeth can cause complications such as pain, pericoronitis or gum inflammation, high cavity and periodontal disease risk and more if left untreated. If the wisdom teeth remain trapped under the gum and/or jaw bone they are called impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth may or may not need to be removed. Examination by your dentist and X-rays (usually a panoramic X-ray) are required to make this determination. Speak to your dentist about the different types of impacted third molars and to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives to having them removed.

Impacted or poorly positioned wisdom teeth are generally treated by oral surgeons. Speak to your dentist about scheduling an appointment with one of our specialists.