By the age of eighteen, most adults have 32 teeth. The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth! It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that can only occupy 28 teeth. These four other “imposters” are your Third Molars, also known as your "wisdom teeth."
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The surgical removal of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may impact sideways, partially erupt from the gum and even remain embedded beneath the jaw bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The most serious problem occurs when odontogenic tumours or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems.