Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.
Most commonly, a lack of space in the mouth prevents the wisdom tooth from emerging properly to become functional entity. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. A number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur if these teeth are left untreated, including:
Wisdom teeth are removed using local anesthesia or light oral sedation and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort. If your case is difficult or you would feel more comfortable having the procedure performed under heavier sedation, a referral to a specialist will be made for you.