Wisdom teeth are the third in the row of molar teeth to erupt into the mouth and there are usually four of them (two upper and two lower) but this varies through the population. They typically begin to come through during late teens to early twenties but occasionally may not pose problems until later in life.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed but unfortunately in many cases when wisdom teeth erupt they can become stuck, or ‘impacted’, onto adjacent teeth or bone. This can make the gum pocket around the teeth sore or infected, a painful condition known as pericoronitis.
Other common problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Food trapping
- Decay or resorption (destruction) of the wisdom tooth or adjacent tooth
- Plaque accumulation causing gum disease/decay/bad breath
- Cyst formation
- Disruption to orthodontic treatment/crowding of teeth
- Cheek biting, causing soreness or ulcers