Third Molar Facts

Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, usually erupt before or around the age of 17. According to statistics about 10 million wisdom teeth are removed annually. Sometimes, rather than wait until they get impacted or come in crooked, dentists may recommend getting them out. However, wisdom tooth extraction is an invasive surgical procedure and if you have plenty of room and your wisdom teeth erupt in a normal fashion, it is not necessary to have them removed.

Wisdom Teeth

Most people are familiar with the fact that your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt and are the molars furthest back in your mouth. Because our diets have changed, so too has the size of our head and mouths. This has taken place gradually over the centuries. We no longer need big teeth, or so many teeth to eat our food because we no longer have to chew large pieces of raw meat or thick, tough, raw greens. Therefore, in many cases, there is not enough room in the back of your mouth for your wisdom teeth to erupt. This can present numerous problems.

Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Pulled?

There are times when third molars will need extracting to prevent problems from developing. It is easier to get your wisdom teeth extracted while you are young because as you age your jawbone becomes more dense making removal difficult.  Wisdom teeth need extracting when:

  • They are impacted beneath your gum
  • They are erupting through the sides of your gum
  • They cannot fully erupt
  • X-rays show they are going to erupt crooked
  • Your wisdom tooth is infected
  • They are causing pain and/or swelling
  • There are tumors or cysts developing around the tooth