While every mouth is different, the typical age range for wisdom teeth removal is from seventeen years old to the mid-twenties. There are exceptions, and some people well into their thirties may sheepishly announce to their coworkers that it’s finally time to get their wisdom teeth removed.
You may know people who proudly boast that they still have their wisdom teeth, basically the third set of molars. While some of these folks have extremely crowded teeth as a result, some don’t appear to have any issues at all. You may start to wonder – do you have to take out the wisdom teeth? Why can’t you just wait to see if they cause any problems?
The Reasons for Removing Wisdom Teeth
If you are of the small minority of people who have a large enough jaw to accommodate wisdom teeth, consider yourself fortunate. A combination of genetics, the time you spent breastfeeding as a child, and the foods you ate as a youngster, gave you a large and accommodating jaw that says “More teeth? Sure!” Your wisdom teeth come in, there are no problems and you go on your merry way, with four more teeth in your mouth than the average American dental patient.
But if you’re more typical, your mouth has just enough room for 28 teeth – 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 8 molars. When your third molars, or wisdom teeth, start to emerge in your teens, there simply isn’t enough room to accommodate them. When that happens, they either grow under or into your other molars, or they are so surrounded by gum tissue that it is difficult to care for them properly. This leads to crowded and crooked teeth, very unhealthy wisdom teeth, or both.
If and when your dental professional recommends having your wisdom teeth extracted, this is rarely an emergency situation. There is time to schedule a good opportunity to get them taken out, so you won’t interfere too much with your activities at school, work or home. But keep in mind, there is a “sweet spot” for wisdom tooth removal, a window of opportunity before the root is fully formed that allows for an easier extraction. Putting off getting your wisdom teeth removed only compounds the problems they are presenting, so sooner is almost always preferred over later.
Make an appointment soon with the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group for a wisdom teeth checkup. X-rays and an exam are all that’s needed to see what’s happening way back there in the depths of your mouth. If all is good and your wisdom teeth will come in without any problems, great! We get very excited when our patients have all 32 of their teeth! But if you’re like most, you’ll need to choose the course of wisdom and have those third molars removed. Dental-wise, it may be one of the smartest choices you ever make.