Wisdom teeth are the molars found in the very back corners of your mouth. They are usually the last of your teeth to erupt, with the average patient developing them in their late teens or early twenties.
Some people never develop wisdom teeth while for others, they may erupt normally – just like your other molars did – and cause no problems. However, in many cases, as wisdom teeth grow in, they become impacted (fail to emerge) due to a lack of adequate space in the jaw. If they do grow, they may end up crowding out your other teeth, affecting your natural dental alignment.
Wisdom teeth removal is often suggested when:
- The wisdom teeth are impacted (meaning they cannot erupt and become trapped in your jawbone or gum).
- They grow in at the wrong angle due to crowding with your other teeth.
- There is not enough space in your jaw.
- Your wisdom teeth have developed cavities.
If they aren’t removed, wisdom teeth can cause swelling, gum soreness and eventually, acute pain. Impacted teeth are very difficult to clean and as such, are vulnerable to tooth decay, recurring infections and may even damage the surrounding bone structure.
To prevent potential future issues, wisdom tooth removal is sometimes suggested even if the impacted teeth aren’t currently posing a problem.