Third molar teeth develop and generally erupt in the late teenage years or early twenties.
The most common reason they are removed is because of infection or tooth decay. This occurs more often around impacted third molar teeth which are difficult or impossible to clean adequately. An impacted third molar tooth is simply a tooth that cannot erupt properly into the mouth because of insufficient space.
Less common reasons for their removal include jaw cysts, damage to the tooth immediately in front or rare pathology. The literature does not support the removal of impacted third molar teeth to prevent crowding following orthodontic treatment, although referral is often made by your Orthodontist following completion of their treatment if there is a likelihood of future problems because of insufficient space.
Third molar teeth are commonly removed because most people do not have space for them to erupt into the oral cavity. Often you will be aware of problems associated with these teeth (symptomatic) although many people present with asymptomatic third molars that do show signs of a disease process and therefore need to be removed.
At the time of consultation the doctor will discuss with you the indications for recommending removal, surveillance or no treatment of your impacted third molar teeth.
Most impacted third molar teeth will be removed under a general anesthetic as a day surgery procedure, although sometimes an overnight admission is indicated. This will be discussed at the time of consultation with Dr Anker or A/Prof Sherring.