Wisdom teeth are the third last molars to erupt and usually appear between the ages of 17-21. Generally, there is a wisdom tooth on each side of the upper and lower jaws (4 total) and are the furthest teeth from the front of the mouth. The ADA recommends that people between 16 – 19 should have their wisdom teeth evaluated. If removal is deemed necessary by a dental care professional, generally, wisdom teeth that are removed before age 20 have less complications.
They are many reasons why wisdom teeth might need to be removed. Wisdom teeth can partially emerge, come in crooked or lead to overcrowding and disease. Consequently, diseased or potentially problematic wisdom teeth should almost always be removed. Instances for removal can include incorrect position, or not coming in properly, not enough room, infection, tooth decay, cysts or tumors, gum disease or pain.
During extraction, your dental care professional will make an incision where the wisdom tooth is located, divide the tooth in sections to remove easily, then clean the side and close the site to promote healing. It can take up to two weeks to fully heal from the procedure and you’ll be given detailed care instructions from your dentist.
Not everyone gets wisdom teeth. While some people have all four wisdom teeth, others may only get one, two or three or none at all. And although wisdom teeth are usually removed, as long as the wisdom teeth erupt fully into the mouth and function correctly sometimes, they don’t have to be. If a wisdom tooth remains fully buried, it can sometimes be left alone if it does not cause problems. Whether wisdom teeth are impacted or not, should always be closely monitored by a dental professional to make sure they won’t cause future problems. Your dentist will continue to monitor these teeth because the potential for developing problems later do still exist.
As always, your dentist is the best resource to answer questions about your oral health and wisdom teeth. Need to find a dentist to discuss your treatment plan? Click here to find one near you.