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Impacted Teeth Wisdom Teeth Third Molars

Impacted teeth are unerupted or partially erupted teeth that cannot fully erupt due to:

  • Lack of space (crowding)
  • Misalignment (tooth is rotated out of position)
  • Conflicting position (another tooth has erupted over that position)
  • Ankylosis - when other causes of impaction are not corrected in a timely manner, the roots of the impacted tooth can fuse to the surrounding bone creating a tooth frozen in an unerupted or partially erupted state.

The teeth most likely to become impacted are the third molars, also known as "wisdom teeth." The first molars are also known as the 6-year molars since they generally erupt at around age 6, and the second molars are also known as the 12-year molars since they generally erupt at around age 12. If the third molars erupted normally, they might be called 18-year molars. But there is rarely enough space to fit these last teeth into the small space left behind the second molars, so the third molars often become impacted.

Wisdom Teeth
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Wisdom Teeth

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  • Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. This generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the "Age of Wisdom."
  • Anthropologists note that the rough diet of early humans resulted in the excessive wear of their teeth. Normal drifting of the teeth to compensate for this wear ensured that space was available for most wisdom teeth to erupt by adolescence. The modern diet, which is much softer, and the popularity of orthodontic tooth straightening procedures produce a fuller dental arch, which quite commonly doesn't leave room for the wisdom teeth to erupt, thereby setting the stage for problems when the final four molars enter the mouth

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