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What are Wisdom Teeth?

The average adult has 16 teeth on the top jaw and 16 teeth on the bottom jaw for a total of 32 teeth. However, the average mouth is designed to fit only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. The four additional teeth, which are the last and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth are your Third Molars, commonly known as "wisdom teeth." Your Third Molars are usually non-functional teeth.Unfortunately, most people experience problems from wisdom teeth; in most cases, this is because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth, causing crowding, improper bites, and other problems.

Why should wisdom teeth be removed?

When wisdom teeth erupt into the mouth and align properly within the arch, removal of these teeth are unnecessary. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they do not properly erupt within the mouth. They can grow in various orientations, may partially emerge from the gum, or may remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many awkward positions in the bone as they attempt to erupt into the mouth.

Poorly positioned or impacted wisdom teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacterial growth leading to infection. Moreover, the pressure from erupting wisdom teeth can cause shifting of your primary teeth eventually disrupting the natural alignment of your smile.

Cysts or tumors may form around the impacted wisdom tooth causing destruction of the adjacent jaw bone and teeth. Removal of the offending impacted wisdom tooth or teeth usually remedy these problems.

Early removal is recommended to avoid future problems and to decrease the surgical risk. The age group which wisdom teeth are usually removed are in the late teens and early twenties. The reason is that the bone surrounding the teeth is softer and allows removal with minimized surgical trauma, and where surgical risks are minimal compared to older age groups.