Wisdom Teeth: What You Need to Know

They say that with age comes wisdom. They may not say this as often, but with age also comes wisdom teeth. This is the last big developmental milestone your mouth undergoes as childhood comes to an end. 

Wisdom teeth usually appear between ages 17 and 21. They are your third row of molars evolutionarily designed to replace any teeth you may have lost by now. Thankfully, because of modern dentistry and oral hygiene, you probably still have all of your adult teeth at this age. As a result, there may be no room to allow your wisdom teeth to grow in naturally. 

If you’re in your late teens or early 20s, here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth to help you make the right choice for your oral health. 

Why are Wisdom Teeth So Often Removed? 

When they grow in properly, healthy wisdom teeth can be beneficial, helping you chew and filling in your jaw with a final row of teeth. However, if the jaw is too small, or the wisdom teeth don’t grow in straight, they may need to be removed. Scenarios like these are incredibly common, meaning that more likely than not, you will need to have your wisdom teeth extracted. 

Here are some of the problems your dentist looks for as he or she monitors the growth of your wisdom teeth: 

  • Impacted wisdom teeth, which are trapped in the jaw or under the gums and can cause a harmful cyst to develop 
  • Improperly positioned wisdom teeth, which can allow food to become trapped and flossing to be difficult 
  • Partially erupted wisdom teeth, which give bacteria a place to enter the gums and cause an infection to develop 
  • No room for wisdom teeth to come through without overcrowding or damaging the surrounding teeth 

When to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed 

Everyone is unique, but your dentist may recommend extracting your third molars in these situations: 

  • As a preventative measure if your mouth appears too small 
  • As part of your oral health plan, such as before getting braces  
  • If X-rays reveal impacted wisdom teeth 
  • If you experience pain, cysts, tumors, damaged teeth, or gum disease 

Is it Possible to Keep Your Wisdom Teeth? 

If it’s not immediately necessary to remove your third molars, you may choose to let them continue developing. Your dentist will recommend monitoring them regularly because of the possible problems that can occur later. Be sure to floss around your wisdom teeth, including behind them, and visit your dentist at least every six months. 

Park 56 Dental offers compassionate, high-quality dentistry in NYC. We know you might be anxious about having your wisdom teeth extracted. That’s why we make sedation dentistry available to our patients. We’ll work closely with you to determine whether nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or IV sedation is the best option. 

Please contact us today at (212) 826-2322 to schedule a wisdom tooth extraction consultation at our New York office.