Understanding Wisdom Teeth Surgery

added on: June 21, 2020

If you or a family member are getting ready to get wisdom teeth extracted, you aren’t alone. Nine out of 10 individuals have at least a single impacted wisdom tooth which must be removed, according to the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Wisdom teeth: What are they?

Wisdom teeth are the 3rd set of molars—flatter teeth that are used to grind down food—and for most humans, the final permanent teeth that erupt. The majority of adults get 4 wisdom teeth—2 on the top and 2 on the bottom behind the 1st and 2nd set of molars. wisdom-teeth-surgery

Wisdom teeth: When do most individuals get them?

Typically, wisdom teeth may be seen through X-ray when they’re still under the gumline when the patient is around 12 years of age. It isn’t until someone is from 17 to 25 years of age that wisdom teeth erupt or attempt to.

What does it mean if wisdom teeth are impacted?

It means the wisdom teeth are trapped. They aren’t able to move to their correct position inside the mouth because of other teeth or bone. Since the jaw cannot accommodate these additional teeth, they’re trapped below the gums and may create pain and pressure.

Why must wisdom teeth be extracted?

Not every person gets their wisdom teeth removed, yet according to the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, around 85% of wisdom teeth must be extracted. The ADA advises wisdom teeth extraction if they:

  • Have impacted teeth
  • Do not have room to erupt
  • Continuously get tooth infections or decay (bacteria and food may become trapped when wisdom teeth partly erupt)
  • Contribute to jaw discomfort
  • Only partly erupt
  • Grow in sideways or an additional undesirable position (oftentimes tilted forward)
  • Cause teeth crowding or move additional teeth and make them crooked


Tumors or cysts, on rare occasions, may form in the soft tissue which may cause damage to surrounding teeth and jaw, so an assessment is important.

For more information on our general dentistry services please feel free to get in touch with our team at Phelps Family Dentistry in Wilmington, NC at 910-762-3481.

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