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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, but sometimes referred to as third molars, usually erupt into the mouth at around the ages of 17 – 25. They are the last set of permanent teeth to appear. Some people never develop them, others erupt normally and cause no problems.

It is common, however, to develop ‘impacted wisdom teeth.’ These are wisdom teeth that don’t have enough space in the mouth to grow normally, they could erupt all the way, partially or not at all.

An impacted wisdom tooth may:

• Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
• Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
• Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone
• Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone

You’ll likely need your impacted wisdom teeth pulled if it results in problems such as:

• Pain
• Infection
• Damage to an adjacent tooth
• Development of a fluid-filled sac (cyst) around the wisdom tooth
• Damage to surrounding bone
• Complications with orthodontic treatments to straighten other teeth

Preventing future dental problems

Here’s the rationale for preventive treatment:

• It’s difficult to predict future problems with impacted wisdom teeth.
• Symptom-free wisdom teeth could still harbor disease.
• Having your wisdom teeth makes you vulnerable to gum disease and tooth cavities.
• Removing impacted teeth lowers the risk of potential problems.
• Serious complications rarely happen in younger adults.
• Older adults may experience difficulty with surgery and complications after surgery.

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