Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. They are the third molars which are at the last teeth at the back of the mouth, on the top and bottom jaw and they usually appear during late teens or early twenties. Problems begin when the 28 teeth already in the mouth take up all the space, so that when the wisdom teeth erupt there is no room for them. Wisdom molar surgery can become necessary when the wisdom teeth squeeze through at strange angles, get stuck or only partially come through. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth.
Wisdom molar surgery is usually only performed when there is a problem with the impacted molars. This can be due to a wisdom tooth affecting the periodontal tissue of a second molar, making it loose and causing loss due to periodontal disease caused by a build-up of bacteria. Impacted wisdom teeth can also cause root reabsorption and problems with the neighbouring tooth roots. Sometimes, a wisdom tooth that hasn’t erupted and is sitting underneath the gum, can develop a cyst.
All these problems can cause discomfort and pain for the patient and most dentists therefore recommended having the offending wisdom tooth or teeth removed. This is generally performed in a dental surgery with a local anaesthetic and takes anything from a few minutes to around 30 minutes, depending on the number of teeth involved.
Wisdom molar surgery is one of the most common oral and maxillofacial surgeries. It is recommended for those patients suffering from infections, pain while the wisdom teeth are erupting, dental caries and wisdom teeth that are misaligned or pushing other teeth out of alignment.
Wisdom molar surgery is best performed when there is no pain or symptoms as recovery time is shortened, but obviously, this is not always possible. Ideally extractions should take place on patients before the age of 25 to avoid root fracture, nerve damage and damage to neighbouring teeth.