If you ever meet a dentist who says all wisdom teeth must be extracted, proceed cautiously! Let's review situations in which third molars (wisdom teeth) should be extracted.
First, some background information. The average age for completion of eruption of wisdom teeth is 20 years, but eruption can continue to age 25 years in some patients. When the wisdom teeth in the lower jaw are forming they are laying horizontally and as the jaw grows the teeth naturally become upright. Failure of the tooth to rotate upward is the most common cause of impaction. The next most common cause is if the front to back space in the jaw is inadequate for the size of the tooth. Some males who are growing into their early 20's may have teeth that upright at age 25. Early removal of wisdom teeth reduces postoperative complications and allows for the best healing. Young patients recover faster and with less pain. So, what are some situations in which wisdom teeth should be removed?
Wisdom teeth that are causing pain or difficulty cleaning surely need a thorough examination. While there are good reasons for the removal of some wisdom teeth, remember, many patients can keep all 32 of their teeth. Talk to your dentist about the condition and development of your wisdom teeth. The best x-ray to view the status of all 4 wisdom teeth is the panorex.