Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth, that usually come in (erupt) when a person is between 17 and 21 years old. They can cause problems if there is not enough room for them to grow in normally or to be cleaned properly.
Most problems with wisdom teeth develop in people between the ages of 15 and 25. Few people older than 30 have problems that require removal of their wisdom teeth.
Wisdom tooth problems include the following:
A dental professional can examine the teeth and gums for signs of erupting or crowded wisdom teeth. He or she can take X-rays to see whether the wisdom teeth are causing problems now or whether they are likely to cause problems in the future.
The most common treatment for wisdom tooth problems is removal (extraction) of the tooth. Experts disagree about whether to remove a wisdom tooth that is not causing obvious symptoms or problems.
Last Revised: November 4, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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