Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth are the final teeth to grow, usually appearing at the back of the mouth between the ages of 18 and 24. Not everyone develops wisdom teeth, and in most cases they do not need to be removed. However, dentists may recommend removing wisdom teeth if their growth is causing dental problems.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
If there is not enough space at the back of the mouth behind the existing molars, wisdom teeth can cause pain and irritation as they grow, especially in the case of impacted teeth that are stuck below the gums and only come through partially.
Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to other oral health issues, such as gum infections, abscesses and tooth decay, when bacteria gets trapped between the teeth and develops into plaque. In these cases, removing wisdom teeth is the recommended option by dentists for the health and comfort of patients.
If you smoke, your dentist will recommend that you stop smoking until you have fully recovered from wisdom teeth removal as smoking increases the risk of infection. You may be advised to avoid eating on the day of treatment if you will be under general anaesthesia.