Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last permanent teeth that emerge from the gums. Between the ages of 17 and 25, these teeth normally develop. Some people don’t get wisdom teeth at all. Others have wisdom teeth that erupt naturally, exactly like their other molars, and cause no issues. Many people have impacted wisdom teeth, which are teeth that don’t have enough room to erupt or develop correctly in the mouth. Wisdom teeth that are impacted may only erupt partially or not at all.
A wisdom tooth that has been impacted might cause:
- Grow at a 45-degree angle to the following tooth (second molar)
- Grow at a 45-degree angle to the back of the mouth.
- Wisdom teeth grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as though “lying down” within the jawbone.
- Like other teeth, they can grow straight up or down, but they are locked within the jawbone.
Lower wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove. Removing a lower jaw wisdom tooth can involve cutting the gum to uncover your tooth, removing bone around your tooth and dividing your tooth with a drill. You’ll usually be given a local anesthetic injection to numb the area around your wisdom teeth when they’re extracted from your lower jaw. You’ll feel some pressure just before the tooth is pulled when your dentist or oral surgeon works to enlarge the tooth socket by turning the tooth back and forth. Before a tooth is pulled, it may be necessary to make a small cut in the gum and chop the tooth into smaller pieces.