Wisdom teeth are officially known as the third molars, and they are the last teeth to come in. They typically break through the surface of the skin, or erupt, between the ages of 13 and 20.
Wisdom teeth can sometimes be impacted, which means they cannot break through the gum tissue. When the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth, this can happen. They can become infected when impacted, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent potential problems.
To Remove or Not to Remove?
Your dentist or orthodontist will tell you that sometimes wisdom teeth will come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate them, they most likely will become impacted. The gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may be become swollen or infected, causing pain. A potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted tooth is pericoronitis. If the pericoronitis is severe, the swelling and infection may extend beyond the jaw to the cheeks and neck.
Each patient has individual circumstances, so your dentist or orthodontist will base their decision to remove accordingly. Give us a call today to learn more about wisdom teeth and orthodontic treatment!