Your third set of molars are no different than any other tooth, save for the fact that they are the last to erupt, or grow, into the mouth. Because they typically do so at around the age of eighteen to twenty, when adolescents are close to turning into adults, these teeth are commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth.”
Normally, people have three permanent molars that develop in each quadrant of the mouth: upper and lower, right and left. The first molars usually grow into the mouth at around six years of age. The second molars grow in at around age twelve.
In many cases, wisdom teeth do not grow in properly, have a proper bite relationship, or have healthy gum tissue around them. Often, wisdom teeth improperly erupt and become impacted, requiring them to be extracted or pulled.
As your dentist, I must examine and X-ray your mouth to determine if the teeth are impacted or will not grow in properly. Impacted teeth may cause problems and can lead to infection, adjacent tooth decay, gum disease or follicle cysts and tumors.
To avoid potential problems later in life, many dentists safely remove impacted wisdom teeth. While they are like any other teeth, most people continue to have normal bites and well functioning sets of teeth in their absence.
If a wisdom tooth is interfering with the bite, badly decayed, involved with or at risk for periodontal disease, or interfering with restoration of an adjacent tooth, it normally is extracted.
Some symptoms of impacted teeth include:
- Infection in the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Swelling of the gum line in the back of the mouth
Wisdom teeth are typically removed after the roots are formed, or at least three-fourths developed. This primarily occurs within the adolescent years.
All information provided under Patient Education is for informational purposes only. Please do not make a diagnosis based solely on the information contained in these pages. For additional assistance, please contact us or your regular physician.