What Are Wisdom Teeth?

The term “wisdom tooth” refers to any of the usual four third molars in humans. Wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 16 and 25. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, but it is possible to have fewer (hypodontia) or more (supernumerary teeth). Wisdom teeth commonly affect other teeth as they develop, sometimes becoming impacted – come in sideways. Wisdom teeth are often extracted when they become impacted or will cause overcrowding in the mouth.

What Are Some of the Problems with Wisdom Teeth?

There are several different types of problems related to wisdom teeth, including:

  • Mesioangular Impaction – the most common form of impaction in which the tooth is angled forward, towards the front of the mouth
  • Vertical Impaction – the second most common form of impaction in which the tooth does not fully erupt through the gum line
  • Distoangular Impaction – this type of impaction occurs when the tooth is angled backwards, towards the rear of the mouth
  • Horizontal Impaction – this is the least common form of impaction in which the tooth is angled fully 90 degrees sideways, growing into the roots of the second molar
  • Partial Eruption – this occurs when the wisdom tooth fails to erupt completely through the gum bed and the gum at the back of the wisdom tooth extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap or lid around the tooth

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Wisdom teeth are extracted for generally two reasons: either the wisdom teeth have already become impacted or the wisdom teeth could potentially become problematic if not extracted.

Post-Extraction Problems

There are several different types of problems that can occur post-extraction. Some of these problems are unavoidable and natural, while others are under the control of the patient. Some of those problems are:

  • Bleeding and oozing
  • Dry Socket
  • Swelling
  • Nerve Injury

Who Will Perform a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, also known as oral surgeons, are qualified dentists who have completed an additional 4-6 years of surgical residencies. Their advanced education and training includes Anesthesiology and the diagnosis and surgical treatment of defects, injuries, and diseases of the mouth, jaw, teeth, neck, gums, and other soft tissues of the head. An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will work closely with your Dentist to improve your oral health.