Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final set of teeth to grow into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, although some people develop fewer, and some people develop more than four. While some people’s wisdom teeth grow in without causing any issues, most people’s jaws are too small to accommodate four extra molars. Wisdom teeth also have a tendency to grow in sideways or become trapped beneath the gums.
Most dental professionals recommend extraction in cases where wisdom teeth have the potential to damage your surrounding healthy teeth or gums. At our office in Amarillo, we recommend you attend regular dental checkups to ensure that you can have your wisdom teeth removed early if they pose a threat to your overall health.
Third molars got the name wisdom teeth because they tend to grow in when a person transitions into adulthood, a time associated with becoming older and wiser. Most people’s wisdom teeth erupt around a person’s late teen years or early twenties, but they can also develop earlier in some cases. Though wisdom teeth typically emerge from the gums during early adulthood, they can start developing beneath the gums as early as age 11 or 12.
Having frequent dental exams is the best way to ensure that your wisdom teeth do not become a threat to your overall health. Because wisdom teeth can start developing so early, it is especially important to attend routine dental exams during the early and mid-teen years. It is impossible to detect wisdom teeth before they fully erupt without having a professional oral examination including scans, and having an oral exam with a dentist or oral surgeon will help you determine whether your wisdom teeth require treatment.
Visit these pages to learn why you should have wisdom teeth removed and when the best time to undergo wisdom teeth removal is.