Answering Questions About Wisdom Tooth Extraction

“Wisdom teeth” is the common nickname given to the third and last set of molars that many adults grow. Depending on how yours have grown, they may pass unnoticed, seem slightly uncomfortable, or cause severe, near-debilitating discomfort. Because of the problems that often accompany your third molars, they are the most-frequently extracted types of adult teeth. In fact, many patients choose to remove their wisdom teeth before problems begin to avoid the restorative work that may be necessary later.

The Removal of Your Third Molars

Why are wisdom teeth extracted so frequently?

Typically, a healthy adult mouth can grow a total of 32 permanent teeth. After the first 28 have developed, the first and second set of molars bring up the ends of each dental ridge. The eruption of your third molars, however, may not go as smoothly, especially if the second molars leave little room for more teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are those that have attempted to erupt, but have been impeded by the molars present, and are now pushing against the existing teeth relentlessly. Extracting them is often the only way to prevent wisdom teeth from seriously damaging the rest of your smile.

Why do wisdom teeth grow if they’re so problematic?

There is no definitive reason why we continue to grow teeth that we often have little or no room for in our mouths. Scientists believe they are remnants of our ancestors, who would have needed the additional chewing power to consume a rougher diet of raw vegetation. With softer diets and smaller jawbones, humans today have little need for a third set of molars.

After wisdom tooth removal, should I replace the molar?

After a tooth extraction, the general rule is often to plan a replacement for the tooth, so you can restore your smile’s appearance and your bite’s ability to function properly. Since wisdom teeth cause problems due to their presence, they are the only teeth that never need replacement after they have been extracted.


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.