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HealthInfo Canterbury

About wisdom teeth

What are 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.

Do all wisdom teeth have to be removed?

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 can happen if I don't have my wisdom teeth 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 are not causing problems, it may be difficult to decide whether to have your wisdom teeth removed to prevent possible dental problems later in life.

See also:

Tooth development and structure

Page reference: 77261

Review key: HIWIS-75198