A wisdom tooth is just another way of saying your third molar tooth. Some people are born without wisdom teeth- they are the most common teeth to be naturally absent. Fortunately, since they often cause problems, this can often be a bit of a blessing. The reason that wisdom teeth often give problems, is because there generally isn’t enough space for them to come through nicely, and as a result they often become impacted. They may never come through, come only part way through the gum, or come through out of position.
Impacted wisdom teeth can give rises to infection, cysts and cause damage to other teeth. If the tooth doesn’t come all the way through and a little bit of gum stays covering half the tooth (we call this the operculum), it makes cleaning extra difficult and provides a place where food can get trapped and cause infection. If this happens, the resulting problem is called periocoronitis.
Your dentist will perform most wisdom tooth extractions. Assume this is the case, unless they advise you otherwise. General dentists are very good at handling the vast majority of things in everyday practice. Particularly difficult wisdom teeth - those with a high risk of complication are best referred to an oral surgeon.
Learn more about wisdom teeth
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