Typically, in the course of a lifetime, three different molars develop in each quadrant of the mouth. At the age of six, the first molars come in. The second molars usually grow in at about the age of 12. By the time a person is between the ages of 17 and 21 (and full of what some would like to consider wisdom), the third molars come in. These third molars are more widely known as wisdom teeth.
These teeth are really no different from any other teeth in the mouth, except for the fact that they are the last to come in. The teeth themselves create no problems. The real issue is that by the time they do come in, the mouth is already too crowded and full of teeth to have room for the third molars to come in properly. As a result, these teeth create conflict and will likely need to be removed, especially in the following scenarios:
- Damage to Adjacent Teeth
- Tooth Decay
- Gum Disease
Your dentist may also see a need to remove your wisdom teeth as a prevention to these and other issues in the future.
In some cases, wisdom teeth are unable to erupt above the gums and are said to be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth require x-rays and evaluation by the doctor and can typically carry the same risk that erupted wisdom teeth do. Impacted teeth are most often removed as well. If you are of age to have your wisdom teeth pulled, but have not yet seen them erupt visibly above the gums, this does not necessarily mean your wisdom teeth are impacted. Everyone’s dental development is different, and with time, your wisdom teeth may be able to grow in without many problems.
If you know the age of removing your wisdom teeth is drawing near, talk to your dentist. He or she can evaluate your x-rays and help you to know what the best timing is for the removal of your wisdom teeth.