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Newton Wellesley Oral Surgery

Adam Orden DDS, MS

Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Pediatric and Adult Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Suite 344
1330 Beacon Street
Brookine, MA 02446
Tel: 617.277.6700
Fax: 617.232.8931
Email: info@jawsurgeon.com

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth otherwise known as third molars are the very last teeth in your mouth to develop. The third molars are located behind the second molar teeth and complete development around the age of skeletal maturity: about 16 years for females, and around 18 for males.

Unfortunately, most people do not have room in their mouth for all 32 teeth.

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth that are fully erupted and used for chewing do not need to be removed. Some of the reasons wisdom teeth are removed are listed here:

  • Tooth Decay

    It is very difficult to keep these teeth from developing cavities and almost impossible to "fill" those cavities.

  • Infection

    Eventually the tissue around the wisdom teeth becomes either infected or there is periodontal bone loss.

  • Pressure against the ajacent teeth

    Malposed wisdom teeth can directly harm the adjacent teeth by continued pressure.

When should I have wisdom teeth removed?

The best time to remove impacted third molars is before the roots are fully developed. This is usually between the ages of 16 and 20. Shorter roots mean less surgery is required to remove the teeth and minimizes complications. Younger patients also heal much more rapidly than older patients.

Impacted third molars are teeth that are prevented from erupting into the mouth by either lack of space (large teeth/small jaw), malposition of the tooth, or malformation of the third molar.
Infections are often cause by impacted third molars. Pressure from the third molar against the overlying gum tissue causes a painful infection. This pain, often accompained by limited opening and bad breath can often result in a serious abscess that can spread to under the tongue and neck if not treated.

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This demonstrates in beautiful detail the presence of impacted third molars in a patient's jaw and their relationship to the nerve present in the lower jaw.