Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars found at the very back of the mouth. Most people get them during their late teens or early twenties. They are a valuable asset when they grow healthy and properly positioned but they may require removal when they get misaligned or impacted.

When misaligned, wisdom teeth can grow inwards, sideways and at times position themselves horizontally. This eventually crowds and damages the adjacent teeth, the jaw and to some extent, the nerves. Those that grow leaning towards other molars may make these teeth vulnerable to decay by harboring food particles and dental plaque. Impacted teeth are those that remain partially or completely entrapped within the soft tissues or within the jawbones. Wisdom tooth that only partially erupts through the gums leaves an opening for bacteria to enter and multiply and cause infections.

Let your dentist examine the positioning of your wisdom teeth. An x-ray can evaluate the alignment of your teeth. Your dentist or oral surgeon may even advise extractions even before they completely erupt. This can help avoid a more complicated and painful extraction in the future. As a rule, wisdom teeth are removed at the earliest possible time, usually in the late teens, when the root of the teeth have not completely formed and the bones around the teeth are less dense.