Third molars, otherwise known as “wisdom teeth” usually erupt during the late teens or early twenties. At both of our locations in San Francisco and Cupertino, we extract a lot of wisdom teeth. Although most people have four wisdom teeth, there are some that may have more or less depending on their genetics.
Why do so many have them extracted? The reason is that they do not always fully emerge and are hard to clean. Sometimes they are completely submerged under the gums, otherwise known as being “impacted”.
One of the reasons wisdom teeth are susceptible to problems is that they are all the way in the back of the mouth, making them harder to reach with a toothbrush. Because the likelihood of problems with wisdom teeth is so high, many people have them removed before the third molars fully develop. Decades if research shows that they are best removed with they are premature and the roots have not fully developed. That makes the extraction and recovery much easier, with less complications. By the same token, removing wisdom teeth later in life can be more difficult, more expensive and associated with a higher risk of nerve damage.