What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are extra teeth in the back behind the other molars, which are unnecessary for chewing. Most patients only have room in their mouth for 28 teeth – which doesn’t include the wisdom teeth. Without adequate space for the wisdom teeth to come into the mouth correctly, they often remain impacted (stuck under the gum and bone), and can be prone to caries (cavities), pericoronitis (gum inflammation), and pathology such as cysts.
Many patients come in because some or all four wisdom teeth have begun to erupt and cause severe discomfort. When a tooth is only partially out of the gums, it is very prone to food impaction and a condition called pericoronitis, which is inflammation or bacterial infection in the gums around the partially exposed tooth.
Other problems that can arise from wisdom teeth include:
• Bite misalignment or crowding
• Damage to bone and adjacent teeth
• Pain or pressure
• Bacterial infection and bad taste
• Increased susceptibility to jaw fractures in that area