They say that age brings wisdom, which is why the third set of molars got nicknamed “wisdom teeth.” These teeth usually start to emerge during early adulthood, after age 17. Every mouth is different—some people get their wisdom teeth as teenagers, others in their late 20s, and some never get wisdom teeth at all. Whether or not you need to get your wisdom teeth removed will depend on how they emerge and whether there’s enough room for them in your mouth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Removing the wisdom teeth may be necessary if they will cause damage to your other teeth. If your wisdom teeth grow in at an angle or don’t fully emerge (erupt) from your gums, they can cause serious dental problems. In many cases, wisdom tooth extractions can prevent pain, infections, cysts, and tumors, as well as tooth decay and gum disease. You might need to get your wisdom teeth removed if:
- There is not enough room in your mouth, and they would crowd your other teeth
- They grow in the wrong position and could trap food or be difficult to floss
- They are only partially erupted, which could allow bacteria to enter the gums
- They are impacted (trapped in your jaw) and could damage your jaw bone
When Is the Right Time for Extraction?
The tooth needs to be at least two-thirds formed before it can be removed. Dental x-rays in your teens will show how your wisdom teeth are developing and help predict when they will emerge. Most wisdom tooth extractions happen between 18-24 years of age, but some people get their wisdom teeth removed when they are teenagers or when they are in their late 20s.
If you can, try to schedule your extraction for a time when you can take a few days off of work or when you have a break from school. A wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure, and you will need some time to recover. You’ll also need to adapt your diet and avoid certain activities (like smoking or drinking with a straw) while the extraction site heals.
Do Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed?
If your wisdom teeth are positioned correctly and have fully emerged from your gums, they will probably stay healthy and won’t need to be removed. Regular exams and x-rays allow your dentist to monitor wisdom tooth development and check for problems. If there are indications that your wisdom teeth could cause harm to your other teeth—like shifting from overcrowding—your dentist might recommend an extraction.
Schedule a Tooth Extraction Consultation
The best time to get your wisdom teeth removed is before they can cause any serious problems. If your wisdom teeth are giving you pain, schedule a consultation at My Dentist in Westminster, Colorado. You can call schedule an appointment anytime! We’ll give you a thorough examination and advise you on your next best steps.