Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molar teeth that most people obtain in their late teens or early twenties. Often times, these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly aligned, but more often they are misaligned and require removal.
In case of misalignment, they can be positioned horizontally, angled to or away from the second molars, or angled inward or outward. Misalignment of the wisdom teeth can agglomerate or damage adjacent teeth, jaw, or nerves.
Wisdom teeth can also be affected, meaning they are enclosed within the soft tissue and / or jaw bone or only partially ruptured or erupt through the gum.
The partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, causing pain and swelling of the jaw with or without stiffness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because they are difficult to reach and their awkward position makes brushing and flossing difficult.
The dentist can assess the position of your wisdom teeth. The dentist may periodically take an x-ray to assess the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also decide on the oral surgeon’s requirement for further evaluation.
Your treating dentist or oral surgeon may recommend early removal of your wisdom teeth even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or complicated extraction that may be required in later years.