Wisdom Teeth
Health A-Z

Wisdom Teeth – Keep them or Remove Them?


One of the many reasons people are forced to visit their dentist is courtesy of their wisdom teeth. These are not ‘wise’ and neither do they give us any ‘wisdom’. As most would agree, all they do is give you trouble.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

They are actually the third set of molars that erupt between 18-24 years of age.

However, they are now considered vestigial just like our tailbone and appendix. Due to evolution, our jaw sizes have been continuously reducing and due to this, the last sets of molars are unable to find space to erupt.

With no space, the wisdom teeth either erupt to disrupt the equilibrium in the oral cavity or spell trouble by not erupting at all, a condition known as impaction. This situation demands wisdom teeth extraction.

What’s the Best Age to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

There are many misconceptions about when wisdom teeth can be removed. However, the fact is that anyone at any age can undergo wisdom teeth removal. But, the ideal or recommended age to get your wisdom teeth removed is between 18-24 years.

This is because, in this age range, it is easy to perform the extraction and since the individual is young, the healing is quicker.

In case the wisdom teeth are extracted later in life, the roots of the teeth would have formed fully and this increases the complexity of the procedure and healing is also delayed.

There are times when people ignore the problems caused by the eruption of wisdom teeth such as pain, swelling, clicking sound from the jaws, and pain radiating to the upper teeth, jaw, and head.

But, when the wisdom teeth are not erupting and are stuck or impacted, the problems only increase, both, for the patient and the dentist.

Impacted wisdom teeth are often associated with cysts, swollen gums, malalignment of teeth, decay in the adjacent teeth, pus formation, and bleeding.

What Can Be Done to Treat Them?

The best solution to relieve any pain and discomfort associated with wisdom teeth is getting them extracted. The extraction process remains the same as extraction of any other teeth for most of it except when the position of the tooth or its structure complicates the procedure.

In such a case, the surgeon slices the tooth to remove it to ensure minimum trauma to the adjacent bone. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and the tooth is removed either in entirety or in sections.

After the tooth and its debris are removed, the site is cleaned and sutured to allow healing to occur. The sutures are commonly removed after the seventh day. The wisdom tooth recovery time after removal varies from person to person.

But, the soft tissue around the wound takes approximately 7-21 days to heal and the bone inside takes a few months to completely fill up the cavity.

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