What are third molars (aka wisdom teeth)?

The average adult has 32 teeth, and the average adult mouth is capable of holding only 28 teeth. The frontal teeth are for biting and grasping food. The back teeth, also known as the molars, are for grinding food to a consistency that can be swallowed.

It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth with space for only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your third molars. They are also known as wisdom teeth.

Your third molars are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, third molars do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of third molars is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt.