About Third Molars

We always encourage patients to learn more about third molars since they can affect different smiles in a variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with this term, let us give you a hint – it is synonymous with “wisdom teeth.” Perhaps you have some that have grown in successfully – or, maybe you aren’t even sure what to make of them because as far as you know, you never grew any. Rather than continuing to wonder about this sometimes-mysterious part of your smile, we invite you to have your questions answered with the following information that is often helpful to our patients:

What Is A Third Molar?

You may be somewhat confused about how to identify this tooth because not everyone has the same experience. While millions of people have these teeth removed every year, some patients never even develop wisdom teeth. When they develop, the teeth erupt in the very back of your mouth behind your other teeth. People often call them “ wisdom teeth” because they show up later in life when you are – hopefully – much wiser than in your youth when your other teeth grew in.

Will I Have Third Molars?

The only way to know if you will develop wisdom teeth – or already have – is to visit us regularly for dental checkups. We will examine your smile for signs of growth. If they have not already broken through your gum tissue, we may use advanced imaging technology, including X-rays, to find out what is happening beneath your gum tissue. We may find one of the following: no sign of third molars, healthily developing molars, molars growing in poorly, or impacted molars that have failed to break through your bone or gum tissue. You can most often expect them to appear around the age of 17. Schedule a dental visit to learn more about your particular circumstances.


Dr. Shawn Hofkes and the staff at Cerritos Dental Surgery are highly qualified to address complex issues, including those that require oral surgery to correct. To schedule an appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.