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Overview of wisdom teeth

By the time they are 18 most people have 32 teeth. The third molars are the last teeth to erupt, at around age 18 to 20. These four teeth are also known as wisdom teeth.

Removing wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth are aligned properly and you can reach them to clean them they will probably not have to come out.

However, most people have only enough space for 28 teeth in their mouths. Because the wisdom teeth are the last to come through, they often don't have enough space. In this case, they may be crooked, come through only partly, or remain completely embedded within the jaw. These wisdom teeth are called impacted. They may have to be removed to prevent future problems.

What happens when wisdom teeth aren't removed

A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent future problems. Some of these problems are:

Facts about wisdom teeth to think about

If your wisdom teeth aren't causing problems, it may be difficult to decide whether to have your wisdom teeth removed to prevent possible dental problems later in life.

On the next page: Removing wisdom teeth

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created October 2018.

Page reference: 77261

Review key: HICPA-75368