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What are wisdom teeth and which are its complications?

Third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, are one of the most common elements in oral surgery, it’s no wonder that many people require their extraction.However, wisdom teeth extraction is not always compulsory and, actually there aren’t many patients that don’t feel any discomfort during their eruption. In this article, we will explain to you what problems wisdom teeth may cause and on which circumstances should they be extracted.

What are wisdom teeth and why do they come in?

Wisdom teeth are four molars that erupt in the back of your mouth, both in the upper arch as well as in the lower. 

The permanent dentition consists of 28 teeth in total plus these 4 wisdom teeth. Depending on each person and their development, molars can come though between the age of 17 and 25 and, sometimes they take many years to fully emerge.

Therefore, an adult that has its four molars will have a total of 32 teeth.


-Adults that don’t have their third molars

Wisdom teeth actually don’t fulfill any essential function with respect to chewing and aesthetics. Therefore, in the same way as their age of appearance may vary, some people may never get any. Besides, it’s possible to have just one or two molars and the rest present dental agenesis, that is to say, the complete absence of that molar. If this happens to be your case, don’t worry, since not having the four molars doesn't pose any problem at all.


When is it recommended to extract third molars?


As we have mentioned before, it’s very common, within oral surgeries, to extract third molars. Our patients frequently ask if it’s necessary to extract wisdom teeth in every case.

The truth is that the simplest answer is to deny such affirmation, although we are going to specify in which circumstances extraction is needed:


-They are not coming in the correct position.

If molars are emerging transversally instead of vertically, it’s normal for people to feel considerable discomfort or even inflammation or pain.

In case that wisdom teeth impact directly with the adjacent molar, it’s normal to produce swelling in your face or in the worst cases, molar infection.



-Lack of space in the arch

Although molars may be in the right position, it’s likely to lack space to come in normally. In these cases, the rest of the teeth may be compromised since wisdom teeth push them against each other resulting in teeth crowding. If this is so, depending on the gravity of the case, in addition to extraction of the wisdom teeth, an orthodontic treatment may be indicated.


Any doubts left? It will be our pleasure to help you. We will be waiting for you in our offices.


Top Dental.


Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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