Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Some people go their entire lives without ever getting their wisdom teeth, while others can develop up to four, one at each end of the upper and lower gums.
Why is Extraction Necessary?
- When the mouth isn't large enough to accommodate the third molars, they can become impacted (trapped within the jaw)
- Partially erupted wisdom teeth are very susceptible to tooth decay, infections and even gum disease
- Misaligned wisdom teeth can shift or damage adjacent teeth
- Cysts can form and destroy bone, nerves or tooth roots
Early Removal for a Quick Recovery
A patient's age and the position of the wisdom teeth will determine the relative ease in which they can be extracted. Removal before the third molars have a chance to emerge is generally recommended in order to maintain proper alignment of the teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted, extraction becomes more difficult and may require a more involved surgical procedure.
Younger patients typically have an easier time with wisdom teeth removal because the tooth roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense, making extraction less complicated. As a result, recovery time is generally shorter.
Not everyone's wisdom teeth need to be extracted. If the third molars are aligned, healthy and functional, dentists may let the teeth remain, but continue to monitor their movement. Patients experiencing jaw pain or inflammation should have their wisdom teeth evaluated by a dentist.
If you haven't already, visit our San Jose office to learn more about your wisdom teeth. At Dental Dimensions, routine check ups can help us monitor the development of your third molars and recommend an appropriate time for removal, should it be necessary.