The third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the last of the 32 teeth to appear in your mouth. They emerge between the ages of 16 – 25 and are located in the back of your mouth.

For the majority of patients, there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate and make use of these wisdom teeth. A small jaw or a poor direction of the third molars will alter healthy tooth growth.

Here are a few examples:

When only a portion of the wisdom tooth is visible in the mouth, it is referred to as "partially impacted". This undesirable position of the teeth is potentially dangerous for your health as they are vulnerable to cavities and infections (poor toothbrush access - difficult to clean). Bone loss can also occur around the wisdom teeth (periodontal problems) and thus may affect adjacent teeth.

Even when the wisdom teeth are not yet visible in the mouth, there is regular contamination of the teeth by the bacteria in your oral cavity. If such a situation is present, the bacteria found in your mouth could reach the impacted teeth and cause underlying problems. Your surgeon will verify this during the clinical examination.

For impacted wisdom teeth (not yet visible in the mouth) it is important to know that lesions, such as cysts and tumors can develop if these teeth are not extracted.

The optimal age to have your wisdom teeth removed is between the ages of 16 - 25 as the jaw bone is more flexible. Extractions are therefore easier and the patient recovery period is shorter. At this age, the wisdom teeth roots are not fully formed so the risk of damaging jawbone nerves is minimized.
As with any other surgical procedures, your surgeon will want to perform a clinical examination and obtain an x-ray of your wisdom teeth and those surrounding them. A recent panoramic x-ray must be made available to assess if any problems are present or if you are at risk of developing any.

In some cases a 3D x-ray may be necessary to complete the evaluation. Furthermore, the surgeon will discuss in detail conscious sedation and surgical risks. You may consult the document concerning preoperative instructions and postoperative instructions for further information.
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