Wisdom teeth (Third molars)

In the late teenage years, third molars erupt and the lower front teeth gradually increase in irregularity.

In the past, it was thought that pressure exerted by the third molars caused the increase in irregularity. However recent studies suggest the two events are unrelated.

In fact, it is normal for your front teeth to become more irregular as you grow older - whether you have third molars or not!

Now days, third molars are not removed as a matter of routine.

Your orthodontist can advise you about the status of your third molars.  Usually an x-ray is required for a full evaluation of your particular case.



General rules for the management of third molars

If a third molar fully erupts into a functional position where it can be kept clean and healthy, then the tooth should be retained.

If a third molar partly erupts, but lacks space to fully erupt, a local gum problem usually develops. Episodes of acute gum infection are common, particularly when resistance is low. The tooth should be removed.

If a third molar does not erupt, it may be left where it is.  Generally, there is little risk associated with leaving it alone and little risk associated with removing it.



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