Wisdom teeth are the name given to your third set of molars. They typically erupt when you are around eighteen years of age. They have been given this name due to their eruption in early adulthood, whereas the rest of your permanent teeth will erupt before age twelve.
When wisdom teeth erupt properly, they can help you with chewing. But oftentimes, there isn’t enough space for this set of molars to erupt fully, and they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are not able to erupt through the gums fully or partially. Impacted wisdom teeth will only erupt part of the way through the gums.
Impacted wisdom teeth can occur because of a lack of space or if the molars are positioned at the wrong angle. In both situations, your wisdom teeth may need to be removed, as there is a higher chance of infection.
Signs and symptoms of wisdom teeth impaction or infection may be pain, swelling, sore throat, pain when swallowing, bad taste or odour and inability to open your jaw completely. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
Your extraction can be completed either with a dentist or an oral surgeon, depending on the impaction’s complexity. If your wisdom teeth are under the gums, the procedure may be more involved. In this case, a small incision will be made in the gums, and special tools will be used to remove the teeth. A few stitches may be used to close the incision site at the end. Healing is usually quick, and you will return to normal after a few days. Be sure not to smoke or drink through a straw for a few days after, as this can lead to further infection by disrupting healing.
Not everybody has wisdom teeth! Some people will be congenitally missing one, two, three, or even their wisdom teeth. “Congenitally missing” means the teeth never developed. Due to evolution and a softer diet, we typically no longer need these teeth to consume food.
Please call to book an appointment if you believe you may need your wisdom teeth extracted or if you have any questions about wisdom teeth.