QUESTION: Should wisdom teeth be removed?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars are the last teeth to grow into your mouth. These teeth usually begin to erupt in the mid to late teenage years after we have stopped growing and therefore they do not have enough space to come into proper position. This can lead to crowding of adjacent teeth or poor positioning of the wisdom teeth. In these cases, it is usually difficult to clean the wisdom teeth and therefore can lead to the development of cavities and gum disease. In some cases, the wisdom teeth are unable to erupt and get "stuck" under the adjacent teeth, in the gum, or bone. These are known as partial or fully impacted wisdom teeth which can cause a painful inflammation of the surrounding gum known as pericoronitis. Abscess or cysts may also occur related to these wisdom teeth.
When the dentist sees that these possibilities may occur, s/he may recommend extraction of the wisdom teeth to prevent these unfortunate outcomes. Removal of the wisdom teeth is usually recommended in the mid to late teenage years because the root formation is not yet complete and the bone itself is less dense, thus allowing extractions with fewer complications and shorter recovery time.
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