Which Age Is Best for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

pile of teethAt some point, you may need wisdom teeth removal surgery. In fact, roughly 85 percent of adults need their wisdom teeth removed. The question, then, is “why?” Why do people grow wisdom teeth if they only cause problems? When should you have your wisdom teeth removed? We’ll cover all your questions in this quick guide.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars, and they’re the last teeth to erupt. People have grown wisdom teeth for centuries, though they’re much less important now than they were then.

Wisdom teeth are in the back of your mouth on both top and bottom. Most people have a total of four wisdom teeth, though they may not all erupt. (Wisdom teeth that don’t erupt are called “impacted” wisdom teeth.)

Once upon a time, we used wisdom teeth to chew food. Back then, some foods were more difficult to eat, so we needed large molars. Today, our food is much softer, mostly because we cook it. Our jaws are more narrow now because it’s easier to eat, but it seems our wisdom teeth didn’t get the memo that they’re no longer necessary. A narrow jaw plus extra teeth may cause problems, which is why so many people have their wisdom teeth removed.

Why Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Most wisdom teeth problems are caused by overcrowding. There simply isn’t enough room in the modern mouth for so many teeth. This can lead to:

  • Pain
  • Infection of the surrounding tissue, cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Abscess

Even if you’re not experiencing any of these problems yet, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend wisdom teeth removal as a preventive measure. There are often indications that your wisdom teeth may cause problems later, and surgery is often recommended in those situations.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Start Causing Problems?

Your wisdom teeth usually erupt in your late teens or early 20s. Usually, the problems start when the teeth erupt or just a little before. Some people don’t notice any issues until much later, though. Some people never notice any issues at all. If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon in Virginia, they likely suspect that your wisdom teeth will cause pain or other issues at some point.

At What Age Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Most oral surgeons agree that “the earlier, the better” is a good rule of thumb for wisdom teeth removal. Your surgeon may advise surgery when your teeth start to erupt, which is during young adulthood for most people. The roots of your teeth grow longer and stronger over time, so waiting much longer may make surgery and recovery more difficult.

If you’re looking for an oral surgeon in Virginia or have more questions about wisdom teeth surgery, feel free to schedule an appointment. 

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Content found on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional judgement, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please speak with a professional if you have concerns about your oral health.

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