Wisdom teeth, or third molars, normally begin to erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Some people may notice them trying to come in after the age of 21, but their late arrival may be because the structure of the mouth has slowed their progression. The size of the mouth and the teeth are different for every individual. Many people have more than enough room for their wisdom teeth to grow in naturally. Others have much less space at the back of their mouth. This can be due to the size of their teeth or the length of their jaw bone. Wisdom teeth are normally larger than the rest of the teeth in the mouth and may grow in at an angle if there is not enough room for them to move freely into place.
If the entire surface of the wisdom tooth is able to erupt through the surface of the gum, then surgery is not needed to remove it. The dentist will measure the area to determine if there is enough room for the tooth to fit comfortably into its space without disrupting the tooth next to it, the dentist will allow it to remain in place to protect the structure and integrity of the mouth. If space is limited and the doctor can still get a firm grip on the tooth, he may be able to pull it without cutting the tissues. This allows room for the other teeth in the area to rest comfortably in their original position or forcing them to be bunched together.
When a tooth is impacted, it means it is coming in at an angle or sideways and is pushing against the back of the tooth next to it. It is often due to being forced out of its original location. When this occurs, there is no way for the dentist to grip the tooth and pull it. In this situation, surgery is required to remove both the crown of the tooth and the roots that extend back or downward into the jaw bone. Because of the tooth’s size, the dentist may have to break it into smaller sections in order to remove it safely. This allows them to remove all pieces of the tooth, even those that are located near the jaw bone.