Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth.
When they align properly, and the 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, or 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.
If wisdom teeth are poorly positioned and impacted, they can cause many problems. When partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result can include swelling, stiffness, pain and illness.
The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the 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 such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, the doctors at the Dental Centre can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a better outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by a dentist, orthodontist or by an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon.