Wisdom Teeth

Pediatric Dentist, Gig Harbor, WA, Lisa A. Block, DMD, MS

The third permanent molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, are usually the last teeth to erupt into the mouth. For many teens, this occurs between 14 and 18 years of age. In some cases, the wisdom teeth may not erupt until after age 20. The location of the wisdom teeth should be evaluated when the teenager is between 16 and 19. If removal is recommended, the procedure is best completed before age 20. Removal of wisdom teeth is not always recommended. However, many teens need to have their wisdom teeth removed for a variety of reasons.

  • Unerupted wisdom teeth can affect the surrounding bone, gums, and neighboring teeth unless there is enough space for the wisdom teeth.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth are not able to move into their proper position. In these instances the teeth may remain in the bone, come in sideways, or only partially erupt.
  • Complaints of jaw pain often arise from impacted wisdom teeth. Gum infections and the infection of the surrounding bone may result. In severe cases the infection can damage surrounding teeth.
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