Wisdom teeth (third molars) usually attempt to erupt between the ages of 17 to 24 years. Wisdom teeth are generally the last teeth to push through the gums.

Most people have four wisdom teeth, some people may have 3 or none. Usually, a dental scan in the late teenage years will show the number of wisdom teeth present, their orientation and the space available for them to erupt.

Often there is little space for the wisdom teeth to erupt and the wisdom teeth become “impacted” so stuck in their path of eruption.

Some wisdom teeth may remain erupted and cause no problems or pathology to the surrounding structures. Most wisdom teeth, if impacted can cause pain and gum infections and in severe cases cause damage to the second molar teeth. Troublesome wisdom teeth may be removed before problems get more serious.

Your dentist will advise you of the best treatment for your wisdom teeth after a dental scan is read. If the teeth have simple anatomical shapes, the extractions can be performed under local anesthetic (in the chair). Often the shape of the wisdom teeth and their degree of impaction warrant a general anesthetic where the teeth are removed in hospital.

In some cases, the wisdom teeth extractions will be referred to a specialist oral surgeon.

These decisions are usually made on a case by case basis and a tailored plan can be explained at your consultation.