Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth that typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. They are located in the back of the mouth and are named after the age at which they typically erupt, a time when a person is said to reach the “age of wisdom.” However, not everyone develops wisdom teeth, and some people may have only one or two.
In many cases, wisdom teeth can cause problems when they emerge due to inadequate space or incorrect alignment. They may become impacted, meaning they are partially or fully trapped beneath the gum line, which can lead to pain, infection, and other complications. If they emerge normally but do not align properly with the other teeth, they can cause crowding, misalignment, or damage to neighboring teeth or gums.
As a result, it is often recommended that wisdom teeth be removed before they cause problems. The ideal time for removal varies based on the individual, but it is generally recommended to remove them before the roots are fully formed, typically in the late teenage years or early 20s. This can help prevent complications such as nerve damage or excessive bleeding during the procedure.
Removal of wisdom teeth is typically done under local anesthesia or conscious sedation, with the procedure lasting around one hour. Recovery time varies based on the individual, but it typically takes a few days to a week to fully heal. During this time, it is important to follow post-operative instructions provided by the dentist or oral surgeon to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.
In summary, wisdom teeth are the last set of permanent teeth that may emerge but can cause problems due to inadequate space or incorrect alignment, leading to discomfort, infection, or damage to neighboring teeth or gums. As a result, it is often recommended to remove them before complications arise, typically in the late teenage years or early 20s. The procedure is usually done under local anesthesia or sedation, with recovery taking a few days to a week.