About Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically emerge in the mouth between the ages of 14 and 24.
Your dentist can refer you to an oral surgeon for a consultation to determine when your wisdom teeth should be removed.
Our oral surgeons see a wide range of patients, ages 12 to 65, for consultations about wisdom teeth removal, but most are still in their teens. Some patients have all four wisdom teeth present and outside of their gum tissue (erupted) while others have all four wisdom teeth still underneath their gums (impacted).
Generally speaking, the sooner the wisdom teeth are removed, the lower the chance of complications.
Wisdom teeth may need to be removed if these conditions occur:
- Pain or swelling
- Infections and/or gum disease
- Cavities that can’t be restored
- Cysts or tumors
- Damage to adjacent teeth
Wisdom teeth also may be removed as part of orthodontic treatment for braces or other dental care.
Waiting beyond the teenage years can give wisdom teeth time for their roots to develop and the bone around the teeth to become stronger. The relative ease with which a wisdom tooth can be removed depends on the positioning of the tooth and the nerve which typically runs below the tooth in the lower jaw.
About 1 in 10 people has ample room in the mouth for wisdom teeth. However, that does not mean it’s appropriate to keep wisdom teeth. It can be difficult to keep wisdom teeth clean because of their location in the back of the mouth. Patients must weigh the risks against the benefits.