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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last molars in a person’s mouth.  One on each side, top and bottom.  When they erupt, varies from person to person.  On many people they do not erupt, but stay under the tissue.

Long ago the jawbone used to be longer and wider, and the wisdom teeth had a very important function in chewing.  With evolution, the jaw has become smaller and the wisdom teeth are nonfunctional.  Instead, they have become a source of discomfort, decay, crowding of teeth, joint problems, cysts in the bone, etc.

Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, but many do.  It is better to have them removed when a patient is in their teens as the roots are not as developed and the teeth come out easier.  Wisdom teeth can be erupted (out of the gum), soft tissue impacted (just under the gum), or bony impacted (surrounded in bone).  The patient may need a day or two resting afterwards, so Fridays are a good time to have this done.  Patients are generally referred to a specialist called an Oral Surgeon for this procedure.