What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars and usually do not push through the gums until late teens, twenties or even older – hence the name “wisdom” teeth. Wisdom Teeth are usually the last teeth to push through the gums.

teenagers and wisdom teeth

Third molars are called wisdom teeth because they often erupt in late teens or twenties as a person enters adulthood.

Does everyone have wisdom teeth?

Not everyone has wisdom teeth. Most people have 4 wisdom teeth but some people are missing one or more wisdom teeth and some people have no wisdom teeth.

Do all wisdom teeth need removal?

No. When there is adequate room the wisdom teeth can erupt into the mouth in the correct position and function as a valuable asset or they may remain unerupted and cause no problems. However, this is usually not the case.

Problems caused by wisdom teeth

Often there is little space at the rear of the jaws for wisdom teeth to come easily through the gums.  If this is the case the wisdom tooth will be come wedged or “impacted”.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the following problems.

infection caused by wisdom teeth

The gum above erupting wisdom teeth often becomes infected

Infection – when the wisdom tooth starts to push through the gums an infection can start around the top of the tooth. Infection and inflammation (swollen, red gums) can cause pain, swelling and jaw stiffness. Swallowing may be painful and you may feel unwell. The wisdom teeth infection can cause bad breathe and an unpleasant taste.

Pain – Pressure from the wisdom tooth may cause pain in the tooth next to it. This pain can also be caused by an infection around the wisdom tooth.

crowding caused by wisdom teeth

When wisdom teeth push other teeth out of their correct position crowding can occur. Previous Orthodontic work can be disrupted.

Crowding – a wisdom tooth may push nearby teeth out of their correct position and may cause crowding of front teeth.




cyst around wisdom tooth

A sac of fluid called a cyst can form around a wisdom tooth damaging bone and other teeth.

Cysts – If a wisdom tooth is not removed, a sac of fluid called a cyst can form around the tooth and may displace the tooth. The cyst can destroy bone and damage other teeth and gums. Cyst formation around unerupted (tooth has not pushed through gums yet) is uncommon but needs to be treated.



erosion cavities

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause erosion cavities in neighbouring molars.

Damage to Molars – An impacted wisdom tooth may keep pushing against the molar next to it. This can cause an erosion cavity where the wisdom tooth hits the other molar. This often leads to serious damage to both teeth. The molars may become infected or abscessed and removal of both teeth is often needed.

Ulcer – An upper wisdom tooth may push sideways and out of the gum. It can cause an ulcer where it rubs against the inside of the cheek.

Food Trap – Food becomes trapped between the wisdom tooth and the molar next to it. This can cause cavities in both teeth.

Removal of Wisdom Teeth

If one or more of your wisdom teeth is causing problems your dentist will recommend that it be removed. Removal of wisdom teeth is a very common procedure and it should be done as soon as possible before problems get worse.

When is the best age to remove wisdom teeth?

Often the best time to remove wisdom teeth in late teens before major damage has been done to surrounding teeth and disruption has occurred to dental work such as orthodontic correction which is commonly done in early teens years. Assigned the name “wisdom teeth” due to their typical emergence in the late teens or early twenties, the third molars have the potential to cause substantial dental complications if left unchecked. Extraction of these teeth is something that many teenagers/young adults and their parents now view as a necessary preventative dental health procedure.

Does wisdom tooth removal have to be in hospital?

Wisdom teeth removal is performed at Leederville Dental regularly. Principle Dentist Dr Richard Kozlowski is Perth’s most experienced dentist focusing on iv dental sedation with over 15 years experience. Oral surgery such as wisdom tooth removal can be performed under IV sedation at Leederville Dental.

Go top