Our third molar teeth or wisdom teeth, as they are commonly known, usually erupt between the ages of 16 and 26 years of age.
Back in the old days when we used to have much coarser diets, our teeth would wear away leaving room for the wisdom teeth come through. In modern times, with diets that are less coarse, very few people actually have enough room for their wisdom teeth to come through.
Some people believe that if wisdom teeth don’t erupt it’s all right to leave them there – if you can’t see them and they don’t hurt, worry about them. One of the main problems concerning wisdom teeth is that they can become impacted – that is they only partially erupt or they get trapped or stuck in the jaw.
Over time impacted wisdom teeth can actually cause lots of problems by damaging – even destroying adjacent teeth causing infections in the gums and/or jaw bone, forming cysts, causing headaches and other facial pain. Usually these symptoms don’t appear until middle age but by then the problems have already developed.
We are able to assess through X-rays with your wisdom teeth will become impacted or not. If required the best time to have them removed is in your late teens. This is because it is generally an easy procedure as the roots have not developed yet.
The decision to have impacted wisdom teeth removed is ultimately yours but it is generally the norm and not the exception, that they will cause problems later in life. No matter what your present age, if you have a wisdom tooth that should be removed we urge you not to delay because right now is your best chance for the least amount of complications.