Lots of our patients come to us having trouble with their wisdom teeth. There are a lot of common questions and concerns about them.
What are they?
Wisdom teeth are your permanent adult third molars (your first molars are your “six year old molars” and your second are your “twelve year old molars”). Some people have them and some people don’t. They are the most commonly missing tooth in the dental arch. Some people may not have all four and some people can even have extra wisdom teeth! They generally erupt into your mouth between 18-25 years of age.
Why do they cause so many problems?
Over time the human jaw has shrunk but our tooth size has not. Our diets have also become less abrasive over time and some our teeth do not wear down as much, As such the wisdom teeth may not “fit” into your jaw. Sometimes this means they get stuck or impacted and can become infected. They can also grow in strange directions and become difficult to clean and impact on other teeth in your jaws.
And what can I do about them?
Some people have enough space for their wisdom teeth and they can erupt and become a fully functional tooth in their dental arch. Other people may not have enough space for their wisdom teeth and they may need to be removed to prevent painful infections recurring. We can assess your wisdom teeth by performing an oral examination and assessing the tooth position with a dental x-ray. Using our x-ray and clinical findings we can then discuss what is your best option; leaving your wisdom teeth or removing them.