Surgical Removal of Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

Third molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, one in each quadrant, behind the second or 12-year molars.

What happens if my teeth are impacted?

Although most people develop 32 permanent teeth, quite often the jaws are not large enough to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting into the proper position, they are impacted. An impacted tooth remains embedded in soft gingiva (gum) tissue or bone beyond its normal eruption time. Because they are the last teeth to emerge, the most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth, which normally emerge between the ages of 17 and 21.

Some of the problems that can develop from partially impacted teeth include pain, infection, crowding, and damage to adjacent teeth. More serious problems, such as damage to the jawbone caused by the formation of cysts, can occur with completely impacted teeth. Surgeons generally recommend the removal of wisdom teeth to prevent these problems from developing.

Prior to your consultation with Dr. Malmquist, a special x-ray, such as a Panoramic or sometimes a Dental CT Scan of your mouth and jaw will be taken to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted and how difficult it will be to remove them.

When should I have them removed?

As the wisdom teeth develop, the roots continue to grow longer and the jawbone becomes denser. So as you get older, it becomes more difficult to remove your teeth and complications are more likely. In addition, the problems associated with impacted teeth tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30.

Surgeons generally recommend the removal of wisdom teeth to prevent problems from developing.

Therefore, it is usually recommended to have wisdom teeth removed during the teenage years or early twenties before the root structure is fully developed. Although in some cases it is recommended that they are removed as early as 11 or 12 years of age.