Typically wisdom teeth (3rd molars) erupt into the mouth age between 17 and 25 years. Not all people get all four wisdom teeth and some do not get any. It is common for wisdom teeth to have too little space in the mouth as they are the last teeth to erupt. Therefore they often get caught (become impacted) either by the tooth in front (second molar) or by the jaw bone behind. The deeper they are impacted the less likely they are to give trouble. When they are partially erupted in the mouth they can be very problematic and should then be removed.
Essentially partially erupted wisdom teeth cause two problems:
Pericoronitis – this is infection of the soft tissue/gum around the tooth. This is because debris collects in the area. Patients can be quite unwell from this with pain, a high temperature, headaches and lethargy. Stress such as exam time is a common trigger as ones immune system is compromised. A short term solution is to have the area syringed with chlorhexidine (Corsodyl) by the dentist and a course of antibiotics. If this is a recurring problem removal is the best solution.
Decay (Caries) – of the adjacent tooth and the wisdom tooth again because of debris stagnation. Treating the decay can be near impossible with a filling unless the wisdom tooth is removed first.
Crowded anterior teeth are not an indication for the removal of wisdom teeth as was once thought. Evidence has shown that the force of one wisdom tooth trying to erupt is not enough force to push together seven other teeth on each side. So removal of wisdom teeth is not necessary for orthodontic reasons.
We at 92 Dental have a specialist in Oral Surgery and in Maxillo-Facial Surgery who carries out the removal of problematic wisdom teeth but also problematic roots and other necessary surgical procedures. These are practitioners with additional full time hospital based postgraduate training in surgery.