Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars in the back upper and lower corners of your mouth. While it varies from patient to patient, they usually erupt between the ages of 17-25. Some people never get a full set of wisdom teeth. If there is adequate room in the jaw, and wisdom teeth come in properly and are able to function normally, there is often no need to have them removed. Often however, wisdom teeth grow in at strange angles and cause problems, and intervention is necessary before they become more risky or dangerous for the patient.
Your dentist will suggest they be removed based on an examination and x-rays, usually between the ages of 17-25. Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. In some cases, there is sufficient room and wisdom teeth are able to erupt and function normally. In other cases, wisdom teeth remain buried in bone and are unlikely to erupt. And still in other cases, the wisdom teeth never develop. Oftentimes however, patients are not so lucky, and wisdom teeth begin causing problems. The most common reason for a wisdom tooth to require removal is because they are impacted
An impacted tooth occurs when there is insufficient room for the wisdom tooth to emerge or develop normally. This results in the tooth remaining fully submerged within the gum and bone. The type of impaction present depends on the angle at which the tooth lies in bone. Impacted wisdom teeth are usually removed because either they are causing problems like pain, damage to other teeth, infection, or other dental problems, or because of problems that may arise down the road if they remain in the mouth. In many cases, damage caused by wisdom teeth is not visible on the surface. X-rays of the mouth are therefore necessary to see what is going on underneath the gum, and to determine what type of extraction is required.
If left alone wisdom teeth that are not growing properly can cause many problems, including infections, decay, damage to adjacent teeth, crowding, and cysts. The best way to determine if you require the removal of your wisdom teeth is to seek the opinion of your dental specialist.