By the age of 18, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.”
Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. Partially erupted teeth create an opening around the tooth that allows bacteria to grow and cause an infection with swelling, pain and illness. Pressure from an erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt their alignment. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid problems and to decrease surgical risk.