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What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom teeth are the third molars, which can be either partially or fully impacted or fully erupted. When these fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth come into contact with adjacent teeth, they can cause caries, gingivitis, and cyst formations as well as misalignment due to the pressure they create. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth at the back of the jaw, which have not fully erupted. There are a total of 4 wisdom teeth, one on each side of the upper and lower jaws. This number is less than four in some people, and no wisdom tooth may develop in some others.


The lack of enough room in the lower or upper jawbone for the wisdom teeth to erupt and their positioning in a place quite different than normal can cause these teeth to partially erupt or to remain fully impacted. These teeth should be extracted when they cause misalignment of the teeth or when they cause caries on the adjacent teeth, gingivitis, or cystic structure due to tissue damage.

Wisdom teeth, which erupt as the third molars usually before 25 years of age, can cause the following problems:

- Wisdom teeth, which partially erupt in the oral environment, hold the food particles due to their bad position. This causes tooth decay and oral malodor due to bacterial proliferation.

- Since partially removed teeth cannot find space properly, they make brushing or flossing difficult.

- Partially erupted wisdom teeth create a suitable environment for bacteria to get easily trapped under the gum tissues. This increases the risk of infection causing pain and swelling in the jaw.

- When wisdom teeth cannot find enough space to erupt, they push the adjacent teeth, causing dental congestion.

- Cyst formation may occur around an impacted or partially impacted tooth. Over time, the cyst damages the roots of the adjacent teeth and erodes the bone, in which the teeth are anchored.

How to Determine Whether a Wisdom Tooth Should Be Extracted

Since wisdom teeth can also affect adjacent teeth, your dentist can decide on their extraction during the examination by considering many different parameters such as whether the healthy teeth are damaged, whether there is cyst or tumor formation, or whether there is pain, infection or the risk of infection. Due to the problems they cause, wisdom teeth are often required to be extracted for ensuring a healthier mouth in the long term. Even if wisdom teeth are not painful, they may have the potential to cause diseases. Since they create oral hygiene problems, they can lead to a great variety of problems. Your doctor can give you all the details during the examination, telling you whether the wisdom tooth should be extracted or not.