Will My Wisdom Teeth Have To Be Removed?


Patients frequently ask about wisdom teeth. It seems like the only time anyone notices those four extra molars is when they are causing trouble. When suffering from wisdom teeth pain, most people wonder why they even have them. Here are some of my answers as to why we have them, what they do, and how did they get that name?

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to appear in your mouth – usually erupting sometime between the ages of 17 and 25 years. They are the four molars in the back of your mouth — two on the top and two on the bottom. Since most of your other teeth came in when you were much younger – remember baby teeth – these are named for the older and wiser you.

Do we need them?

These four molars in the back of your mouth, technically your third molars, are vestigial – like your appendix. At one time they may have been needed to eat food that was harder to chew, but we no longer need them. They are the victims of our evolution to a diet that doesn’t need the extra chewing surface.

Do they always need to be removed?

Despite much conventional wisdom that the third molars are always trouble, they frequently grow in just fine and don’t need to be removed. Most young adults do not experience wisdom teeth pain or removal. Sometimes they don’t even grow in at all!

However, sometimes wisdom teeth do cause problems. As we have outgrown our need for the extra molars our jaws have become smaller. So these four molars erupt in a smaller space than needed, becoming crooked or impacted in the gums and jawbone. Regular dental exams are the best way to monitor their growth. Impacted and infected wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and need to be removed. 

What should you expect with wisdom teeth removal?

The oral surgery performed for extracting wisdom teeth is a standard and common procedure. You will probably be sedated for the procedure, so you won’t feel or remember a thing. Afterward, you should rest and limit your food to liquids and soft foods for a few days. Your oral surgeon will tell you how to manage any slight bleeding or swelling. Most people recover quickly with no major complications.

Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim

Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. When treatment plans include specialty work, he coordinates every step with the practitioners you choose from his referral network. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment.

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