Wisdom teeth (also called “third molars”) usually do not push through the gums until people are in their late teens, twenties or even older. Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to come through the gums.
Most people have four wisdom teeth. Some people have no wisdom teeth. In many people, not enough space is at the rear of the jaws for wisdom teeth to come easily through the gums. If the jaw does not have enough space for the wisdom tooth to come through, the tooth will become wedged in or “impacted”.
Some impacted wisdom teeth remain in place and cause no trouble. However, other impacted wisdom teeth may cause severe problems.
Often one or more wisdom teeth will cause problems and must be removed.
Your dentist may recommend early removal of one or more wisdom teeth due to the following reasons:
It is best to have troublesome wisdom teeth removed while the patient is young. In young people, a tooth’s roots have not formed totally, and the bond surrounding the tooth is softer. This allows for easier removal of the tooth and less risk of damage to nerves, bone or other teeth.
*(excerpt from ADA Wisdom Teeth pamphlet)