Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to grow in. When they don't emerge completely from the gums (known as impaction), your dentist may recommend surgery to remove them.
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are just as useful as any other teeth if they grow in normally and have healthy gum tissue around them. However, for many people, wisdom teeth don't have the space to grow in properly.
Wisdom teeth usually appear between ages 17 and 21. The ideal age to remove them is between 18 and 24, when two-thirds of the roots have formed. However, they can still be removed later in adulthood.
Impaction is when a tooth doesn't emerge completely from the gums. Wisdom teeth can be impacted at different levels:
The tooth can also come in at different angles: straight (vertical), sideways (horizontal), angled away from the other teeth (distal) or angled towards the other teeth (mesial).
Keeping impacted wisdom teeth may put you at risk of:
If your wisdom teeth grow in correctly, with enough space in the mouth, they may not need to be removed.
If there is a problem, however, non-impacted teeth can be pulled without surgery.
Follow these tips to ensure a successful recovery:
Last updated January 28, 2022
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.