“My friend at school just got their wisdom teeth out. Will I need to get my wisdom teeth out?”
Wisdom teeth, also known as 3rd molars, are the last of the permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth. Often, due to lack of space in the mouth and jaws, wisdom teeth never erupt into the mouth at all and become impacted, where they remain under the bone and gums. Frequently impacted wisdom teeth become a problem for people because of the wisdom tooth’s position under the gums and closeness to neighboring teeth. Left alone, the impacted wisdom tooth can often lead to an infection in the gums or jaw, and can often cause damage to neighboring teeth.
In our practice, if we detect that wisdom teeth are currently a problem, or if we suspect that the wisdom teeth will be a future concern, we recommend an evaluation by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, where the parents and patient along with the doctor can make an informed decision about how to manage the wisdom teeth.
Occasionally wisdom teeth erupt into the mouth normally and, with proper diet and oral hygiene, can be healthy, functional teeth.
As any other issue in healthcare, it is always better to address a health concern such as wisdom teeth as early as possible and not wait until symptoms develop.