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What Are Wisdom Teeth?

December 1, 2019
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Posted By: Steven Bussell, DMD
Woman holding jaw from pain

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about wisdom teeth. Unless you work in the dental field, however, you may not know precisely what wisdom teeth are or why you have them.

Every adult has two sets of back molars as part of their permanent teeth. Some adults also have a set of third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” that typically erupt sometime during their teens or early twenties. A full set of wisdom teeth contains four teeth, but some adults will have three, two, one, or even none. Scientists believe that humans once needed all of these tough, durable teeth due to our courser and harsher diets of the past. As our diets and lifestyles have evolved, however, we don’t need wisdom teeth the way we once did.

If you do have your wisdom teeth, they are in the very back of your mouth in the four quadrants of your smile. If you are lucky enough to have no wisdom teeth, you never have to worry about extraction or potential problems that wisdom teeth cause. But if you are like most people, you will need your wisdom teeth extracted. 

Is it necessary to have my wisdom teeth extracted even if they don’t hurt?

It depends on the situation. Typically, most dentists will recommend removing wisdom teeth that are asymptomatic if it looks like those teeth could pose problems in the future. Wisdom teeth commonly become impacted, painful, or infected, which means they can damage other teeth or cause teeth to shift even after orthodontics. 

Occasionally, a dentist may decide to leave wisdom teeth alone if they are not causing any issues. 

Consultations for Wisdom Teeth in Royal Palm Beach

If you are unsure if you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, it’s always best to consult our Royal Palm Beach dentist. While the majority of people undergo wisdom tooth extractions in their late teenage years or during their early twenties, it’s possible to keep your wisdom teeth until later in life. Call our dental office today at (561) 422-1020 to schedule your wisdom tooth consultation. 

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